The first 74 acts to be part of the 2019 line-up of the Underbelly Festival Southbank have been revealed. The Central London festival will feature four new programming strands, as well as a number of headline acts from talented performers.
Opening The Belly theatre, Gravity & Other Myths’ legendary Southbank headliner returns with an all-new cast; the awe-inspiring array of acrobatics, athleticism, games and utterly unique talents known as A Simple Space.
Opening the Paradiso Spiegeltent is the London premiere of one of the most successful shows of this year’s Edinburgh Festivals, Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club: a spectacular cabaret variety show with an all-star line-up of punks, freaks and weirdos from across the globe.
Following this will be YUMMY – another breakout smash of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. This drag extravaganza is an explosion of dazzling costumes, electrifying dance, gasp-inducing performance and filthy humour which makes your average episode of RuPaul look like an Amish funeral.
Running alongside these spectacular headliners Underbelly Festival’s new programming model will include a new two-week season Podcast Live which will bring a huge range of the funniest, most fascinating, agenda-setting podcasts out there to the stage, including one of the most varied, fun, challenging and popular, the woman’s lifestyle sensation Standard Issue which comes to Underbelly live as In Conversation with Standard Issue, A Gay and a non-Gay where two friends offer a hilarious insight into our differences and similarities, celebrated comedians Mark Watson & Sofie Hagen setting the world to rights, Irish sketch comedy, YouTube and podcasting sensations Dreamgun, acclaimed dark audio sitcom about rival funeral directors Wooden Overcoats and a showcase of the Best of the British Podcasting Awards with more to be announced.
Underbelly Festival’s biggest family programme ever will kick off with Family Fest – running throughout the Easter Holidays – which includes the acclaimed adaptation of The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog in which live readings from author Julia Donaldson bring her stories to life within a spectacular theatrical world. Other classic children’s tales gracing the Southbank stage include the mega-hit Monstersaurus and a new theatrical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows.
On top of this spectacular theatre, this year’s family programme includes the ultimate family singalong Massaoke for Kids, the original adult and baby mixed bill comedy Screaming With Laughter and the wildly popular Fun Kids Radio Hour.
This year’s comedy programme includes solo shows from John Robbins, Vikki Stone, Mark Watson, Abandoman and Fin Taylor as well as the launch of London Comedy Allstars, a brand-new mixed bill running each Saturday in the Belly theatre with top names set to appear including Ed Gamble, Josie Long, John Robins, Felicity Ward, Jen Brister, Rachel Parris, Phil Wang, Pierre Novellie, Jayde Adams, Ahir Shah, Dane Baptiste, Rosie Jones and many many more.
For those looking for a Big Night Out (BNO) with a twist, Underbelly Lates bring together live entertainment, clubbing and a famously buzzing festival atmosphere with a series of unique events including karaoke with a mob mentality in Massaoke, Cocoa Butter Club – the cabaret-variety show made by people of colour where comedy, circus, burlesque and drag are set down neo-soul, R&B and Disco, The Silent Disco Show the only show to mix silent disco with live performance, Blunderland – the legendary mixed-bill cabaret whose previous performers have included Le Gateau Chocolat, Lady Rizo, Empress Stah and Fancy Chance, and Southbank institution Marcel Lucont’s Cabaret Fantastique.
“We’ve looked at ways to keep our programme fresh and surprising, while always retaining Underbelly Festival’s ethos of high-quality entertainment at an affordable price”
Now in its 11th year on the Southbank in the heart of the world’s cultural capital, Underbelly Festival has become a staple of London’s live entertainment scene – the original, biggest and best pop-up festival providing world-class performance at affordable prices across two distinctive and atmospheric venues, a sumptuous array of street food and drinks, and some of London’s finest outdoor bars.
Underbelly directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said:
“After celebrating a decade on the Southbank last year we’ve looked at ways to keep our programme fresh and surprising, while always retaining Underbelly Festival’s ethos of high-quality entertainment at an affordable price. We’re delighted to be able to announce three first class and totally distinctive headliners which do exactly that.
“We’re also bringing a wider and higher quality range of family shows than ever before – starting with a jam-packed Easter holiday, producing our own comedy nights which will bring the largest ever collection of the best comedians in the business to the Southbank, bringing some of London’s most unique nights out to life, and – in Podcast Live – creating a platform specifically to put this brilliant (and still-growing) artform on stage for the first time at the festival.”