Keith steps down as Buxton Fringe chair after award ceremony

Published: 22 July 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Retiring Fringe chair Keith Savage Credit: Ian J Parkes
Grace Cordell in Soapbox Racer which won the production award at the 2019 Buxton Fringe

Keith Savage has stepped down as chair of the trustees of Buxton Festival Fringe after six years, his final public engagement being the awards ceremony at the Derbyshire town’s Green Man Gallery.

Savage said the 2019 Fringe, which celebrated 40 years of the event, was the biggest and longest. He said being chair had been “an extraordinary privilege,” adding, “outside my own family, this has been the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

He explained that the awards were to recognise excellence but the word “best” was never used by the Fringe.

In the theatre category, the production award went to Soapbox Racer, written by Ben Schwarz and featuring Grace Cordell. Acting awards went to Derbyshire’s Ray Castleton for Without Malice or Ill Will and Sara Gray from High Peak theatre company Easy Company for Jordan. The new writing award was picked up by Derbyshire-based Anna Girolami who penned Once Upon a Time in Trieste.

The John Beecher Memorial Award for original challenging work with high production values went to Debris by Liverpool’s Dennis Kelly.

Young drama talent was recognised with Buxton’s Rec Youth Theatre winning youth production for Zero for Young Dudes and Annie Wallis being awarded youth actor for Buxton-based Mad Hatters Music Youth Group’s Legally Blonde.

The award for families went to Babbling Vagabonds Storytelling Theatre’s Here Be Dragons! Buxton Drama League's The Shakespeare Jukebox won the accolade for Street Theatre.

A full list of awards and nominations can be viewed at the Buxton Fringe web site.