If you’re planning your first visit to Buxton Festival you might find this information useful. If you have any other queries please don’t hesitate to call us on 01298 70395 or email info@buxtonfestival.co.uk.

How and when can I book?

Buxton Festival Friends enjoy advanced priority booking by post from 2 March (Benefactors, Patrons and Gold Friends) and 9 March (Friends). Public booking opens on 1 April at 10am and you can then book by telephone, in person at the Opera House or online. Learn more…

Is there a dress code?

No – you can come in casual clothes or dress up for the occasion. Most visitors dress fairly smartly, but what you wear is entirely up to you.

I’m new to opera – will I enjoy it?

The Festival is a great place to try opera for the first time. The Opera House is quite intimate, so you feel close to the action and will quickly get involved in the drama. Most operas are sung in English, and side-titles help you to understand what’s going on. The audience is very friendly and will make you feel at home. Although some people around you will be real opera fans, everyone welcomes newcomers, and it’s not a ‘stuffy’ atmosphere.

How can I find out more?

This website contains information about the operas which will give you an insight. Or try to go to the free Opera Talks an hour before the opera starts, where there’s an informal discussion that helps your understanding. Then there’s the Festival programme …

Where can I buy a programme?

The Festival programme (£10) is a prestigious 130-page coffee-table publication, and is the Festival-goer’s bible. It details every event, with director’s notes and in-depth articles on the operas, plus programme notes for concerts. The programme is available from the Box Office throughout the day, and also at music and literature venues for our events. In the evening, programmes will be on sale outside the Opera House approximately 30 minutes before the opera starts. Individual programmes for each opera (£3) are also available in the Festival shop and inside the Opera House. These include full details and background information.

Who runs the Festival bookshop and what can I buy there?

Waterstones is the Festival’s official bookseller and they run the Festival bookshop located outside the Opera House during the Festival. They sell a wide range of interesting and relevant books.

Where can I purchase interval drinks?

Pre-show and interval drinks are available in the Opera House and Pavilion Arts Centre bars in the evening. The bars are open approximately 45 minutes prior to each performance and interval drinks can be ordered in advance.

You can also buy ice creams and confectionary in the Opera House during the intervals. Drinks are allowed in the auditorium, as long as these are in plastic glasses (available on request).

Interval drinks are also available from the forecourt bar in front of the Opera House (weather permitting).

The Clubhouse and Old Hall Hotel are also just outside the Opera House and offer good facilities.

When do performances start?

Evening operas start at 7.15pm. Some operas are also available as matinees. Events during the day have many different start times so please check details for each event. Performances start promptly so please allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the venue, particularly if you are travelling between venues, as Buxton is a little hilly in places! Generally we try to allow sufficient time to walk to the next event. If you miss the start of an opera or concert, or leave the auditorium at any point, you will be asked to wait until there’s a suitable gap in the performance to return to your seat (this may not be until the Interval).

When do doors open?

Buxton Opera House – 30 minutes before event.
Pavilion Arts Centre – 20 minutes before event.

Can I use mobile phones and cameras?

To avoid distractions to performers and our audience, we do not allow the use of mobile phones in Festival venues. Taking photographs and recordings are also forbidden.

Will there be Side Titles?

Side titles displaying English translations are broadcast for most opera performances, at the side of the stage.

Can I get a refund if I want to cancel my tickets?

Tickets can neither be refunded nor exchanged. Box Office staff will do their best to re-sell tickets, but a 10% administration fee will be charged. You may like to consider insurance against illness etc.

What special offers are available?

Groups, Under 30s, children, multi-buy bookers and stand-by bookers can all receive discounts. Visit Special Offers to find out more.

What facilities do you have for people with disablities?

We are pleased to welcome people with disabilities. The Opera House has four spaces for wheelchair users in the stalls and two seats designed for easy transfer from a wheelchair. There are also spaces for wheelchair users at the Pavilion Arts Centre. Toilet facilities for the disabled are available in both venues.

There are a limited number of passive infra-red (PIR) systems in both the Opera House and Pavilion Arts Centre. These work through a special headset (rather than your hearing aid), which is available from the theatre – please reserve one when booking tickets (a £10 cash deposit is required). There is also an induction loop system at the counter in both Box Offices.

Please call the Festival office on 01298 70395 for information about facilities for disabled people at all Festival venues. We will do our best to facilitate your visit to the Festival.

Where can I park?

There is some on-street parking near the Opera House, free after 6pm. There’s also a multi-storey car park in the Pavilion Gardens, also free after 6pm. All our venues are in close walking distance.

What about trains?

There is a regular train service from Buxton to Stockport and Manchester. Or a quick way to London is bus or taxi to Macclesfield, and then train to Euston.

Where can I stay?

There are lots of hotels and guest-houses in Buxton. See Where To Stay for details. It can be busy in Buxton during Festival-time, so it’s useful to book early if possible.

And where do I eat?

There are now lots of nice places to eat in Buxton, and they are used to theatre-goers’ requests for specific times. See Where To Eat

I’ve heard of the ‘Friends’ – what is it?

The Friends of Buxton Festival provide financial security for the Festival through subscriptions, donations and fundraising. They receive many benefits, including advanced priority booking and access to special events. Visit Friends Page to find out more.

What is Buxton Carnival?

On 11 July the centre of Buxton is taken over by our local carnival procession and crowing of the May Queen – a very colourful Derbyshire celebration. And don’t forget another local tradition – the dressing of the wells with thousands of flower petals.