Underbelly (events promoter)

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Private company
Industry Arts
Founded 2001
Headquarters London, England
Products Theatre and comedy promotion, productions and Venues
Subsidiaries Underbelly Promotions Limited
Website http://www.underbelly.co.uk
Uddberbelly Festival in Hong Kong during December 2015

Underbelly is a live events producer and venue operator, known as one of the "Big Four" venue operators at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. From its roots as a Fringe venue, the company has expanded to include a festival on London's South Bank and seasonal events in Edinburgh and elsewhere.



Underbelly was founded in 2000 by directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood to operate one venue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2001, Underbelly Limited was formed to turn the Underbelly venue into a professional operation. The original venue, on Edinburgh's Cowgate, now includes a number of different performance spaces, with themed names such as Iron Belly, White Belly and Big Belly. Over the years, Underbelly's operations have expanded beyond the Cowgate, to include a hub space known as the Udderbelly pasture in George Square and a Circus Hub on The Meadows. For several years, Underbelly operated a hub in Bristo Square, but recent redevelopment works at the nearby McEwan Hall mean the site is currently unavailable. Each Underbelly venue is recognisable by its purple, cow-themed branding, most notably a large, upside-down, inflatable purple cow which serves as one of the venues. In 2015, Underbelly hosted over 130 shows at the Fringe.

Besides its Fringe operations, Underbelly also co-ordinates "Edinburgh's Christmas" - a funfair, market and events programme in Princes Street Gardens. In 2014, 3.6 million visitors were recorded.[citation needed]

Other locations[edit]

In 2009, in collaboration with the Southbank Centre in London, the company launched Udderbelly Festival, an eight-week programme of comedy, circus and family entertainment inside the upside-down purple cow venue. By 2015, the festival had extended to fifteen weeks. The festival won Best Festival at the London Lifestyle Awards in 2012.[citation needed]

In 2012, Underbelly also launched London Wonderground, a programme of circus, cabaret and family entertainment, based in a 1920s Paradiso Spiegeltent. The Wonderground also presents oddities, curiosities and eccentricities such as the 60-metre high Star Flyer which gives views over London's rooftops.

Other London events which Underbelly produces include West End Live in Trafalgar Square, Pride in London, and the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge at Southbank Centre's Winter Festival. In 2015, Underbelly produced the official Fanzone at the Rugby Union World Cup in Richmond.

Elsewhere, the company produced the Comedy Hullabaloo in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Udderbelly Festival in Hong Kong.


Performers who have appeared at Underbelly venues since 2000 include:



External links[edit]