Everything you need to know about the Underbelly Festival
With the Underbelly Festival on London’s South Bank in full swing, read all about the history of the 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
Towards the end of the Underbelly Festival, take your children to see a family-friendly version of The Showstoppers at their kids show, taking the ideas of a younger audience and transforming them into a full-length improvised production. Let their imaginations run wild as they come up with any setting, characters and what they might want to happen in a dream musical show tailor made to little ones.
If you’re looking to get fit while watching a show, head to Swing Out! Enter a razzling dazzling world of swing, where music from the decadent 20s Jazz age, the glamourous 30s, the spirit of the 40s and the rebellious sounds of the 50s come together in a whirlwind of live music and dancing. As SwingDanceUK take you through the routines, step, stomp and shimmy your heart out for a step back in time like no other.
If you’re looking to be transported to a vintage era, why not head to Miss Kiddy and the Cads, a production oozing with Hollywood glamour from the Golden Age. Songs by a range of artists from Beyonce to David Bowie are transformed into stylish, sassy musical numbers, accompanied by a six-piece band. Selling out shows around the UK, you’ll want to hear your favourite songs turned on their head at Miss Kiddy and the Cads.
Be a part of the biggest party on the South Bank with The Silent Disco Show, where you can choose what music you dance to during the night. Select from three different channels of music all offering something different, with cabaret acts, circus performers and bright lights taking over the Spiegeltent. Theatre and club music come together in an electric experience guaranteed to get you in a good mood.
For those wanting to sing along to a range of feel-good hits from musicals, previous decades or top 40 tunes, why not head to The Massaoke Band. For one evening a month, the roof of the Spiegeltent is blown off with the sounds of hundreds of partygoers, as the crowd becomes the star of the show. As lyrics play across giant screens, you’ll be able to join in the mayhem, so whether you’ve never sung in public or you’re usually the one to get the party going, experience a truly unique karaoke night at The Massaoke Band.
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!