Buxton Spring Fair

Come and find us at Buxton Spring Fair this Bank Holiday Monday. There’s lots going on up at the Market Place, on The Slopes and in the Pavilion Gardens. Our stall is at the back of the Town Hall next to Two Left Hands, near the cavers, climbing wall and Mountain Rescue.
We have a little craft activity if you fancy a bit of quiet time or if you need a pick-me-up Mark and Phil are hosting The Curing Chemist, so be sure to call by and say hello.

Two men dressed in Victorian style costume interact with a shoppper on a high street. They are all smiling

Wagon of Wonder At Buxton Fringe!

We are very please to be able to be part of Buxton Festival Fringe this year. The Wagon Of Wonder is going to be performed in Gadley Woods with support from Buxton Civic Assoication. (There are no facilities there it’s just a beautiful woodland!) We were awarded a grant from the UK shared Prosperity Fund. Alongside the performances it will enable us to buy some equipment and host free family workshops on June 1st and 2nd in the different woods around Buxton.

We are testing out evening performances to see if it feels like a different experience for us and the families. Show times 2pm and 7pm

You can book your tickets here

This show was performed last year at Pooles Cavern under a different name of Adventure Shack but we thought this title was more catchy. So do tell all the adventurous families you know. It’s sure to be a magical memory making event. 

two actors tell a story to an audience. The image is taken from behind the audience and you can see the back of everyone's heads.

Big Cat Parade

Thanks to the families that came along to see our big cat last weekend. We led the parade of cats and mice along Spring Gardens and down to The Slopes being accompanied by Two Left Hands Samba Band. This was the culmination of a larger project led by Creeping Toad (AKA Buxton artist Gordon Macellan) Which can read about here.

3 puppeteers parade with a big lion puppet through the streets of Buxton

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Whirlwind Of Activity

This month has been a whirlwind of activity. Lots of meetings with exciting opportunities to be had, storytelling workshops in schools to celebrate World Book Day, an Arctic blast to disrupt working patterns, and then a funding rejection. Just when I thought I could banish those winter blues! 

two children sit on a snowy slope looking down at the town

Adventure Shack

This project has been developing for the last few years. A flight of fancy adventure using circus and storytelling. A research and development grant back in 2021 led to an exploration of ideas and excitement.  However, after much hair pulling and through gritted teeth, we have made the decision to stop trying to follow our dream on this project. Another rejected funding bid is a sign for us to stop pursuing this adventure. But out of it, we have developed a cracking story, so watch out for “The Little Old Lady Who…” perhaps we haven’t thrown the towel in just yet?

Circus performer using red silks

The Christmas Toyshop Mystery is On Tour

We are so please to announce that The Christmas Toyshop Mystery is back for Christmas 2023! We are teaming up with The Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton-upon-Trent to bring families an unforgettable Christmas treat! We are sharing this wonderful festive story from 16-24 December. Tickets will be on sale by the time our next newsletter goes out in April so I will share the link so you can book tickets. If you saw it last year in Derby, share the link with any friends who didn’t get to see this magical show and let them know they’ve another chance!

3 performers look out to the camera. They are on stage and are holding a toyshop with a teddy bear sitting on top.

The Perfect Tonic

It’s been great that we have seen a bit of sunshine this month. Spring really feels like it is on the way. The mornings are getting lighter and the splash of colour on the slopes in Buxton from the crocuses and snowdrops always make me smile.  
This month I feel like we have put lots of smiles on people’s faces with our project of The Curing Chemist. It has been the perfect tonic to banish those winter blues.

purple and white crocuses on a grassy bank

The Curing Chemist

This project has been lots of fun. Working with local schoolchildren to create tonics and cures for everyday ailments and fanciful ills, has certainly sparked the imagination in all of us. Their work is being displayed in the Pump Room in Buxton, and there is every type of remedy. Whether you want to awaken your brain, get a good night’s sleep, or just transform into a mermaid, I think these children have everything covered!

two victorian style characters are dressing up a small child with a red scarf

What better place to host our Curing Chemist community workshops than in the cellars of the Crescent. Our friends at Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust let us us the apothecary rooms. It felt very atmospheric and all the families that joined us had a great time. These workshops sold out so quick I organised some drop in sessions in the Pump Room. Over 3 mornings we bought smiles to a great number of families. Thanks to all of you who were able to join us, and thanks to Buxton Our Street and The Heritage Action Zone who helped fund the project.

two men in victorian dress wallk a high street, one is riding a bike while the other walks alongside

The Curing Chemists then wandered Spring Gardens dishing out cures and remedies for the local shoppers. They got thrown out of the precinct pushing their bike about as there is a strict rule and they very clearly make no exceptions!

Know of a high street or event that would enjoy the benefits of a Curing Chemist? Just get in touchtara@babblingvagabonds.co.uk

Busy Start To The New Year

Sometimes January can be a difficult month. The weather is rubbish and the dark start to the day makes things even harder. But deep down we know that spring is coming and the sun will get warmer.

Opportunities are arising at Babbler HQ and as we plan out the year ahead it seems we could end up being very busy sharing the vagabond joy.

snowy hilltops in view with a blue sky

Toyshop Success

Phil, Emily and I had great fun together in Derby with The Toyshop Mystery. Despite fighting off horrid colds and throat infections, we still told our wonderful and magical story and entertained both children and adults. The usual vagabond humour means there’s fun in it for everyone! More noticeable this year was the families attending with older children. Some of you have been seeing our shows for 10 years and we are firmly part of your Christmas Tradition (for the moment until the kids get too old!)

If you want reminding of the fun we had together, watch the trailer for the show here. If you want to know what you missed, you can click the link too. 

A girl is pretending to be a detective and shining her torch in the dimly lit space

The Curing Chemist

Thanks to Buxton Our Street and The Heritage Action Zone, we have a fun project this half term. January and February can be a difficult month, so we thought we would spread a smile to the people in Buxton.

We are working with our local schools and then running workshops on February 20,21,22 from 10am until 11am. 

The workshops are happening in the exciting location of the basements in Crescent Experience’s Apothecary Room.

cartoon image of a man on a strange looking bicycle, thats pullinga mini shed with an ariel coming out the top

You will then find us wandering the high street and crescent area for the rest of the morning. So watch out for the Curing Chemists as they wander Buxton’s Spring Gardens. They will offer passer bys the perfect remedy to rid those winter blues.
Mixing a dash of history, a splash of silly science, we dare to offer nothing but fun.

Two men dressed in victorian outfits are looking over a small child trying to work out how to cure them

A Christmas Tradition

Wow! These last few weeks have flown by. I can’t believe what we have achieved in two months! Our Show in Derby has started and we can proudly announce our 10th Christmas show is ready to bring Christmas joy to families.

Three performers stand on stage and look out to the camera as they hold up a play toyshop and an old teddy.

We have been working flat out to create The Christmas Toyshop Mystery to celebrate our 10th year with DerbyLIVE. We’ve built relationships with audiences over the years and we often get families telling us we are part of their Christmas tradition. What a privilege that is. The children who have been coming for years are now teenagers and yet they still choose us to play a part in their Christmas celebrations. That really makes your heart sing. If you are one of those families, then thank you for your continued support. If you’ve yet to make it your family tradition, I can tell you, you won’t regret the trip to Derby. We have had such wonderful feedback from the performances; we know we have got the mix right again.

An actor who is pretending to be a small girl rubs noses with her beloved teddy

The story revolves around a mysterious toyshop, a lost teddy and one girl’s journey in trying to reunite her brother with his lost toy. Let us share with you a truly magical story that will entertain the whole family.

A teddy is in a cardboard style washing machine and has a bubble hairdo
Two actors on stage one of them is about to pull a rope and is looking cheekily at the audience

Photos taken by IC Things, Derby Photographer

Meaningful Change

The time has finally come when I can announce proudly, that Babbling Vagabonds is officially a charity. Over the past 22 years we have worked hard as a non profit organisation to provide heart warming experiences for young people and family groups and we hope to carry on for another twenty years doing the same, only better!  So as we put our best foot forward we acknowledge how grateful we are to the people who support us in our work.

Sunlight comes through the trees and casts shadows on the leafy woodland floor

What to Do this Half term – Let’s All Assemble!

We are proud to be part of The Museum of Making’s Assemble Festival. It’s an annual gathering that celebrates makers in all shapes and sizes.

On Sunday 23rd we are running shadow puppet workshops. Come along and learn how to create your very own toy themed shadow puppet to inspire our Christmas production with DerbyLIVE.

Shadows of children holding up a monster style puppet they have designed and created

The Christmas Toyshop Mystery

We are back with DerbyLIVE for Christmas. In a pop theatre space in Derby Market place we are presenting our ninth Christmas experience. It’s about a young girl who embarks on an adventure into a mysterious toyshop to find her brother’s missing teddy. But all is not as it seems. Grab your deerstalker and magnifying glass to see if our young super sleuth can work out what the Dickens is going on.

A cartoon image of two children looking into a toyshop window that is filled with toys

Fun Palace Success!

What a great time we had at the start of October. We were one of over a hundred Fun Palaces happeing up and down the country. We were joined by over a hundred participants throughout the day. So thank you to all the families that ventured along. Mark was surely the biggest kid there and he won the title for building the biggest tower. Perhaps someone wants to take him on next year!

A collage of photos that show people having fun participating in creative tasks like drawing and building towers from cardboard boxes

Finding the Fun

When the kids go back to school it really feels like summer is over. It’s time to get back into the swing of the school run, after school clubs and daily habits. As we look towards Autumn, we know our Christmas show isn’t too far off, either. We are always planning and looking for the next project, working out where we can find the fun in everything we do.

Fun Palace – How to make one

This year we have partnered up with Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust to bring you a Fun Palace. Fun Palaces is a free nationwide annual event that celebrates culture in the community by using arts, science, craft, tech, heritage and sports activities. 

Anyone can make one and it’s all about local people coming together, having fun and celebrating in anyway they choose. There’s a genius in all of us, so why not share it? Want to know more about Fun Palaces? Click here.

If you fancy popping into our Fun Palace to enjoy a free fun creative activity or two then come along anytime.
The Pump Room, Buxton
(Opposite the Crescent)
Sunday 2nd October
from 11am -4pm.


If you want to get involved, have a skill to share or volunteer your time to lend a hand, then email me tara@babblingvagabonds.co.uk it would be lovely to hear from you.

Four photos showing people joining in with various creative activites

Wagon Of Wonder

We are hitting the road with our Wagon of Wonder in 2023. If you would like this at your school, venue or festival then please get in touch and I can send you our touring brouchure.
 Just email me, tara@babblingvagabonds.co.uk

Two male performers dressed as sales assistants stand in front of a yellow cart. One holds a bif pair of blue starry pants the other, a ukelele

Am I right?…You’re not wrong!

Wise words from the old wise woman! This is probably my catchphrase for the summer! It’s been a joy to see people’s faces light up when we presented Adventure Shack in Buxton and Derby. The feedback from our audiences have been extremely positive too.

Amazing show! My cheeks hurt from laughing so much!

As usual the Babblers have excelled in their splendid entertainment.

It’s really funny, they are crazy! I want to watch more. Evelyn aged 9

I love your show! It’s so funny. Nell aged 7

Two male actors are dressed as a queen and an old wise woman

So a big thank you to all the families that came to see our show. I often find myself saying “we couldn’t do it without you” but it’s true. Our little independent theatre company relies on a lot of goodwill and people buying tickets to see our work.

Two actors dressed in blue over coats stand in front of a yellow cart. One holds a ukelele and the other a big pair of blue starry pants

Wagon Of Wonder

When we start out on a journey in creating a new production we are never quite sure in which direction it might go. Our process is such that we can be incredibly flexible. When it’s just the three of us we can change things right at the last minute and add new ideas so sometimes the original title doesn’t always reflect what we have created. So we have decided to rebrand Adventure Shack by giving it a different title, Wagon Of Wonder.

Two performers dressed in blue stand beside a bright yellow wagon filled with strange objects


A little while back, I asked you if you were interested in development workshops where we shared our skills. Well, I am pleased to announce that we are holding two workshops in October. A making workshop in shadow puppetry and the other in creating characters aimed at anyone interested in sharpening their tool kit for the stage. These are day long experiences and there will be a cost to these workshops and they are for anyone over the age of 18 and there will be 2 bursary places for each course.

If you are interested in these workshops, just email me tara@babblingvagabonds.co.uk

a black and white image of Mark behind a table operating shadows and lights

Chin Up!

I’m not going to paint a picture all rosy and wonderful. But this feels like it’s been a hard first half of the year. I feel like our to do list has never been longer, yet our pockets are feeling emptier. This month we have had covid again, which has meant losing a week of rehearsals and now we have been given notice on our storage unit. 

But, keep our chin up, we must, and as like my good old Gran used to say, “When one door closes, another one opens.” 

Photograph of a woodland scene with the sun going down behind the trees

Adventure Shack

As we plough on with our new production, and change rehearsals schedules as Mark has covid, we continue to make wonderful discoveries in our storyline. This show will have our usual magic and there are enough moments where Phil and Mark are up to their shenanigans.

Two male performers dressed as sales assistants stand in front of a yellow cart. One holds a silver teapot towards the camera

The Future for Adventure Shack

Our aim for this production is to tour it to schools in September, October 2022 and then January, February 2023. We will develop it for night light experiences too, so there’s lots to get excited about.

So if you know someone who might be interested in either of these experiences then get them to contact me tara@babblingvagabonds.co.uk and I can send them more information.

We will turn up with the wagon of wonder and share some of the most magical stories that Madam Moo Moo has collected over the years.

Two male actors perform outside to school children. They are dressed in blue and there is a yellow wooden cart parked infron of leafy green trees

Charity Status Gets Closer

We have submitted the application to the Charities Commission, so we wait excitedly to see if they will accept our proposal. We really hope that it will enable us to provide more activities and creative opportunities for people in our local area.

A view of 5 animal shadow puppets that children are holding up

Set For An Adventure

As the dusky bluebells fade in our local woods, we get ready to put plan b into action. We are getting pretty good at implementing a plan b these days. Perhaps that’s called resilience? We didn’t get our funding for our exciting summer production, so instead we have come up with another idea.

Often it feels like we have so many ideas and when I look back I wonder how we got to the end result? Creativity is like a seed. Give it enough love and attention and something will eventually bloom. So, as we look forward to the next few months, what will you give your time and effort in order for something to grow?

Blubells fill the bottom of the photo as they sit amongst the trees. A dappled light gives the bluebells a smokey look

Adventure Shack

Dusting ourselves down and picking ourselves up from a funding bid rejection means we become even more resourceful. After flexing those little creative brain cells, we are proud to bring an outdoor experience for families this summer called “The Adventure Shack”

Escape the crowds, stray from the busy paths and discover the eighth wonder of the world:

Madam MooMoo’s Marvellous Magical Market Stall!

The Adventure Shack! 

The wondrous one-stop pop-up shop for all your adventure needs! 

Except today, of all days, Madam MooMoo is unwell, and so it’s up to her loyal assistants to look after her shop. Join Prentice and Dogsbury as they unpack the unusual items from her barrow of the bizarre and discover the fantastic stories each item has to tell. 

Epic tales of adventure, mystery, magic and derring-do guaranteed to heebie your jeebies and bump your goose. If you want to follow the progress of this fun experience, then follow us on the usual social channels. If you need no more tempting? Then you can book your tickets now by clicking on the venue details below.

Markeaton Park, Derby July 20-24

Grin Low Woods (Pooles Cavern and Country Park) Buxton July 27-31

We know how hard things are for some families right now so we have made Friday afternoon at Grin Low Woods, Buxton a pay what you can performance, but you still need to book a ticket. (it’s a numbers thing!)

A cart with a jumble of objects all piled up around it. Old suitcases, lampshades, kitchenware make up the arranged items


We are thinking of hosting skills exchange workshops. We have learnt so much over the years we thought people might be interested in attending some days/weekends/evenings where we explore some techniques we use when we create our work.
This is still a seedling of an idea, but you can help shape it. What would you like to learn? If you are up for getting creative together, then hit reply to this email and let us know your thoughts.

A sketch book with a lightbulb drawn on a page with the word "Idea" written at the top of the page