Underground’s 12th season goes live

We’re proud to announce our programme has gone live for Underground’s 12th season on the Buxton Fringe.

You can now browse our entire programme online from www.underthefringe.com/programme and buy tickets online through our super-fast, custom-built ticketing system. What’s even better – there are absolutely no booking fees, card fees or transaction fees for any sales!

Tickets start from £7 (£5 for students). Why not take a look now…

Here are a few stats:

  • 68 different shows and events from the world’s of theatre,  comedy and music.
  • 155 performances, crammed into just 19 days.
  • 24 different stand-up comedians
  • 8 different countries represented
  • 7 history-themed shows
  • 14 shows involving music
  • 2 performers called Darren
  • 3 returning sell-out shows from 2016
  • 5 shows with numbers in the title (specifically: 1, 5, 10, 30, and “soixante” (60))
  • 2 performers impersonating teachers
  • 4 shows about murder
  • 88 metres (or 900 tickets laid end-to-end) between our two venues

Free shows for younger *people who go near polling stations but may or may not have voted*

UPDATE: Our original offer to encourage people to vote seems to have bothered some people, and we’ve some mildly alarming suggestions that we could get in trouble for doing so. Unfortunately our legal team can’t advise us because we’re a tiny arts business and they don’t exist.
So we’ve unconditionally withdrawn our original offer in its entirety, but replaced it with an entirely different completely unconnected deal. Instead, you can get free tickets if you go near a polling station. Because it’s a totally different offer, we’ve also upped the age bracket to anyone under 30. Updated text highlighted below.

In a few days, the country will go to the polling stations again. If you include the Scottish referendum, this will be the sixth national vote in seven years. And this one arguably offers the biggest difference in ideals than any general election in decades.

At the last election, 77% of over 55s turned up to vote, vs less than 43% of under 25s. Some people think that’s a good thing, that elderly voters have wisdom and experience and know what’s best. We think that’s rubbish. We were only 18 when we set this venue up.

So we very much encourage you to vote.

Anyway, now for something completely unrelated to the previous two paragraphs.

As a purely cynical marketing exercise designed to appeal to young people who probably like twitter and things like that, we’re offering free tickets to any show for anyone under 30 who can prove they stood outside a polling station on polling day – one each week of the fringe. No restrictions, no exclusions, and it doesn’t matter who you vote for. Or if you voted at all. Tweet/email a selfie at the polling station* and you’ll be added to a list, and as long as there’s space you can come into any show for free. And you can have everything after that at half price.

We’ve got some world-class stand-ups to choose from, as well as impro, sketch and musical comedy, and an unparalleled programme of thrilling theatre. For just three weeks each year, a cacophony of international talent flies** into Buxton, so take a look at who’s coming to town.

The more engaged young people are, the stronger our voices are. By definition, elected officials have to pay attention to the groups who might actually vote for or against them. So just by turning up, we make sure politicians listen to the whole electorate, whatever the result, now and in the future. And the younger we get engaged, the better we can hope for the future.

We challenge other local and national businesses to do the same thing. And also separately to encourage young people to vote (but obviously don’t offer them any extra incentives because that might not be legal). Democracy is strongest when turnout is high, and the earlier people engage, the better informed the electorate becomes.

We shouldn’t leave it to someone else’s voting habits to decide our lives, and for once young people have the power to determine the election. The High Peak is one seat that could go either way, so whoever you think about when you stand near a polling station, get out and do it.

 

*A picture outside is best, there are various rules on photos inside.
**I mean, arrives on the slow train from a connection at Stockport.

 

HOW IT WORKS / TERMS etc

To be fair to our artists, we can only offer freebies to shows that aren’t selling out, so you can only claim on the day, and in some cases you might have to wait until just before. But we can normally squeeze extra people into most shows. You can have one free ticket each week, between the 5th and 23rd July. No rollovers unfortunately, and the week restarts on a Monday.

To prove you stood near a polling station on polling day, you should send us a selfie at the polling station, on polling day. The rules around photography in voting booths are complicated, so even if you happen to vote while you’re there, a picture outside is best. Obviously make sure you’re in it, and it’s at our discretion whether we’re convinced by your photo. (You don’t actually have to be standing).

You can genuinely have the offer whether you voted or not, even if you’re not on the electoral roll.

Also, ‘half price’ tickets means you’ll pay what our performers pay, which is roughly half price but varies a little show to show.

Work with Underground: Theatre technician opportunity

Job advert:

Underground Venues is the leading venue-group on the Buxton Fringe, hosting 68 shows and events in two theatre spaces. We operate for three weeks every July, bringing together an exciting mix of artists, producers, audiences and festival volunteers.

This year our venue operates 29 June – 25 July July (including get-in and get-out).

The Buxton Fringe is the 3rd largest Fringe in the UK and our programme of work this year includes a fantastic range of top-class touring theatre, award-winning stand-up comedy and Edinburgh Fringe previews.

We are looking for a theatre technician join our existing team for the three weeks and manage one of our studio spaces. The post involved rigging and plotting lights, helping acts with tech rehearsals, managing changeovers between shows, familiarising companies with the technical equipment and sometimes operating shows. You’ll meet and work with a huge variety of national and international touring companies.

We cover all accommodation and transport costs, with a fee/expenses negotiable dependent on experience. Our technicians also have the opportunity to see a wide range of Fringe shows for free and the post is a great opportunity to meet artists and others working at the venue.

Some experience or training of working as a theatre technician is essential. Experience working in a Fringe or festival context is desirable. The post is open to all but may well be suited to a student or recent graduate looking to further their experience working with professional companies.

Dates in Buxton are 29 June til 25 July (though there is some flexibility on this if necessary). All accommodation and transport to/from Buxton is covered.

To apply, please send your CV and expression of interest (or any questions) to jobs@underthefringe.com

Press release: A new home for Buxton Fringe’s largest venue

From the Underground press office:

The Buxton Fringe’s longest running venue has received a new lease of life, in the form of a new base above The Clubhouse pub in the centre of town.

After 10 years and 1,500 performances hosted under the historic Old Hall Hotel, Underground Venues were forced to move this year to make way for the multi-million pound Crescent Spa redevelopment project. Luckily their prayers, and those of 70 companies from across the globe, have been answered by the offer of a new home just over the road.

Artistic Directors Yaz Al-Shaater and Tom Crawshaw have developed ‘Underground at the Clubhouse’, a 60-seat performance space which will house a community of 60 artists, theatre companies and comedians and an audience of thousands over three weeks in July. Hidden in a back room, the venue will also play host Buxton’s exclusive new Fringe Club, a box office and information desk, and ‘The Buxton Festival Fridge’: a curated performance and exhibition space in a real-life fridge.

Underground will also be returning to the Pavilion Arts Centre for the Fringe, to house a further 43 larger-scale performances.

Co-founder Yaz Al-Shaater said “We’re really pleased to have found a place packed with potential, to continue what we started over a decade ago. We pretty much grew up on the Buxton Fringe so it’s an honour to return each year and give something back, by bringing together artists from all over the world and introducing them to the Fringe, and to Buxton.”

Yaz continued “We always have a blast building the programme, because the Buxton audience is brilliant, there’s always a great atmosphere and no-one’s ever scared to try something new. I can’t wait to see what people think of the work we have lined up this year.”

Co-founder Tom Crawshaw said “We were sad to see the Pauper’s Pit close, but can’t wait to open our new space at The Clubhouse. We both have many fond memories of performing at The Clubhouse when it was run by Martin Beard as Venue 21, and we are very excited that we are able to put The Clubhouse right back at the centre of the Fringe, where it belongs.”

Underground’s programme this year features performances from every genre, as well as work from across the globe. Highlights include ‘Fringe First’ winning Edinburgh-hit Labels, Funny Women Award winner and rising star Harriet Braine, and Edison – a bold experimental retelling of the life of Nikola Tesla from Philadelphia-based ensemble Static Assembly.

This year’s Buxton Fringe runs 5-23 July, with the Launch Party at Underground’s new space on Tuesday 4 July.

Underground goes Overground for 2017

We are very pleased to announce that Underground Venues has arisen from the loss of our original home under the Old Hall Hotel, to find a new home for 2017 in festival hub The Old Clubhouse. Following eleven successful years, Underground will return with another hand-picked programme of events at the 2017 Buxton Fringe.

Popular with Festival and Fringe audiences for many years, The Old Clubhouse, opposite the historic Opera House, will form our new base of our operations. A brand new theatre space for 2017 will join an all-day Fringe Club and information desk, while the Arts Centre, just over the road, will continue to host our larger-scale acts.

Underground Venues 2017 will run 4-23 July.

Applications for all types of performance will open at the very start of February.

Keep an eye on the website and our Twitter and Facebook for more information.

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Theatre Technician Opportunity!

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Underground Venues is the leading venue-group on the Buxton Fringe, hosting 75 shows in three different theatre spaces. We operate for three weeks every July, bringing together an exciting mix of artists, producers, audiences and festival volunteers.

This year our venue operates 3-25 July (including get-in and get-out).

The Buxton Fringe is the 3rd largest Fringe in the UK and our programme of work this year includes a fantastic range of top-class touring theatre, award-winning stand-up comedy and Edinburgh Fringe previews.

We are looking for a theatre technician join our existing team for the three weeks and manage one of our 40-seat studio spaces. The post involved rigging and plotting lights, helping acts with tech rehearsals, managing changeovers between shows, familiarising companies with the technical equipment and sometimes operating shows.

We offer all accommodation in Buxton, all transport costs, plus £300 towards expenses for the time. Volunteers also have the opportunity to see a wide range of Fringe shows for free and the post is a great opportunity to meet artists and others working at the venue.

Some experience or training of working as a theatre technician is essential. Experience working in a Fringe or festival context is desirable. The post is open to all but may well be suited to a student or recent graduate looking to further their experience working with professional companies.

You will need to be free to arrive in Buxton on the afternoon of 3 July and leave the afternoon of 25 July. All accommodation and transport to/from Buxton is covered.

For more information, or to apply, simply contact jobs@underthefringe.com

For more information about the venue, visit underthefringe.com

Underground returns

We’re proud to officially announce Underground Venues will return in 2016 for our 11th season on the Buxton Festival Fringe.

The venue will run 6 – 24 July 2016, with another strong programme of the finest Fringe entertainment from across the UK.

To apply to be part of it head to our Artists Area. Applications close 23 March.TOSH-127

Underground Turns Ten

That’s right, 2015 will be the tenth year of Underground Venues! – and you can bet we’re excited about it (because you would have no risk of losing your stake, as we are definitely excited and can prove it).

2015 will be the tenth time we take up residence at the Old Hall for the Buxton Fringe, after starting there back in 2006. We will also be managing the Arts Centre Studio in Buxton and be returning to the Oxford Fringe for our fourth year there!

Dates for both Fringes are confirmed as:

Oxford: 22 May – 7 June 2015

Buxton: 8 – 26 July 2015

We are accepting applications for Oxford already – just email oxford@underthefringe.com for full info and an application form. We will be accepting applications until 10 March.

Applications for Buxton Fringe will open late January and be through the website. The deadline is 23 March.

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Remembering Peter Low

We were all very saddened to hear that Peter Low – past chair of the Buxton Fringe and long-time supporter of Underground Venues – passed away suddenly this week.

It was a great shock as Peter had been supporting our venue and the Buxton Fringe (and Festival!) as energetically as ever as recently as this July. He continued to welcome our staff members from around the country and make sure they had the friendliest of stays in Buxton and his humour and love of the arts continued to inspire us.

Peter Low was the chair of the Buxton Fringe in 2002 when Yaz and I – and our fellow Three’s Company member Michael Grady – first got involved. It was Peter who made us aware of this great festival and Peter who, perhaps against better judgement, allowed us to join the committe aged only 15. Peter’s keeness to encourage the next generation was hugely influential in our early work and it’s fair to say Underground Venues would likely not have happened without his support in those early years.

We remember Peter as a great diplomatic force, able to address the many differnent arguments, and the many loud voices, from all sides, with a characteristic sense of humour and self-deprecation. He also gave his time selflessly to many other artistic activities in Buxton, most of which I’m probably not even aware of, and continued to do so right up until the last.

He was a great man – though I’m certain he wouldn’t even begin to accept such a title himself. He will be greatly missed by all of us at Underground Venues and I know the Buxton Fringe and wider Buxton community. Our thoughts are with his wife Janet – herself a tireless supporter of the arts – and the rest of his family. We will be raising a glass (sadly not of Fringe Beer on this occassion) to his name tonight.

The Fringe Trail kicks off!

Another year, another summer and the Fringe season is on us again.

As we’ve written about before, a strong pattern of Fringe festivals has grown up over the summer months in the UK. With Brighton in May, Oxford in May/June, Buxton in July and Edinburgh – the biggest of  them all – in Edinburgh. The trail moves south to north as the summer progresses and a growing number of acts are moving with it.

Acts use this ‘Fringe Trail’ to road-test their shows ready for Edinburgh (the biggest live arts festival in the world) – or to kick-start a later tour. Conversely, many revisit the other Fringes after having had success in one.

Here at Underground we are keen to see this Fringe Trail grow so we present here the dates of the four Trail Fringes for 2014:

fringe trail 2