Everything you need to know about the Underbelly Festival

By | Posted on 08-Apr-2019

Everything you need to know about the Underbelly Festival

The Underbelly Festival for 2019 is now closed. Why not check out these stand-up comedy shows coming to the West End?

Read all about the history of the Underbelly Festival, from its early days in 2000 to the worldwide phenomenon that it has grown into. Attracting cabaret acts, comedians and well-established performers to the iconic purple cow, read all about the festival and book your tickets to shows during the festival now.

Acts at the Underbelly Festival

When did Underbelly start?

Underbelly was founded in 2000 by directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood to operate one venue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A UK based entertainment company, they are dedicated to promoting, presenting and producing a diverse line-up of acts, with performers hailing from over the world to be represented as part of the ‘Underbelly’ name. In an interview with thisweekdiy.com, Bartlam and Wood said that their original venue in 2000 only had three shows performing there, with Ed Bartlam actually in one of them.

Where does Underbelly perform?

In 2000, there was only one performance space located in Edinburgh’s Cowgate. Over the years, the central location for the company’s space at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has taken on many names including “Iron Belly” and “Big Belly”, but is perhaps most recognisable for the giant purple cow which stands tall over the city. As the amount of productions under the company’s name has grown, so have the number of locations. Growing in size and performance spaces, Underbelly as a promoter and company has developed year on year. In 2018, there were 22 venues over four sites under the company’s name including George Square, the Meadows and Bristo Square, with 192 shows at their venues during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that year.

When was Underbelly brought to London?

With a growing presence in Scotland and shows delighting audiences from around the world, the Underbelly Festival made its way to London, with its southern counterpart first taking place in 2009. Located on the South Bank in the heart of the capital, the world’s best circus acts, comedians and family entertainment shows each performed on the stage designed to look like an upside-down purple cow. In the debut year of London’s Underbelly Festival, shows went on for an eight-week period. By 2015, the festival had extended to 15 weeks, with 2019 marking a 26 week-long festival, meaning theatregoers can soak up the festival atmosphere in London for half of the year!