• Udderbelly Festival: 7 April – 17 July
• London Wonderground: 5 May – 25 September
• First tickets on general sale: 29 January, 10am
• Part of Southbank Centre’s Summer Season

Underbelly and Southbank Centre are delighted to announce the return of Udderbelly Festival and London Wonderground on London’s South Bank through the summer of 2016.

Now firmly established as highlights of London’s cultural calendar, these two inimitable festivals bring an irrepressible programme of performance, attractions and events to Southbank Centre’s summer season. Among the incredible performances added to this year’s programme today is the London premiere of Close Up, the new show from world-renowned circus company Circa; Acapella smash-hit Gobsmacked!; all-male burlesque from the boys of Briefs; bearded, bonkers, sexy circus in Barbu and comedy from household names including Nina Conti, Jason Byrne and Reginald D Hunter.

Udderbelly Festival:
Udderbelly Festival, a summer staple on London’s South Bank, returns for its 8th year. Graze in the shade of the iconic upside-down purple cow, grab a bellyful of comedy, circus and family fun inside, and then enjoy an eclectic range of delicious street food and drink.

Headline shows at Udderbelly Festival

Close Up (7 April – 12 June):
Get up close and personal with four world class circus performers and witness acrobatic performance at its most extreme. See unparalleled routines, and the athleticism it takes to perform them. Gasp at extraordinary, effortless circus stunts, and understand the commitment it takes to perfect them; marvel at graceful aerial spectacles above you so close you can practically feel the rope tighten on your skin.
Internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning circus company Circa (The Return, Opus – Barbican; Beyond – London Wonderground) wrench back the curtain with Close Up. Nothing is off limits in their most intimate show yet. Close Up has been made especially and exclusively for the Udderbelly and has already wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Udderbelly Festival Hong Kong.

Gobsmacked! (16 June – 17 July): A next-generation a cappella show. Featuring world-class voices, mind-blowing beatboxing and breathtaking harmonies, this all-singing, all-mindblowing theatrical experience redefines the limits of the human voice. The multitalented cast of singers and beatboxers weave an urban story from both classic and contemporary songs that embrace all forms of a cappella, from traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge multi-track live looping. This astounding show smashes all vocal boundaries. Forget everything you’ve ever known about the human voice and prepare to be Gobsmacked.

Comedy is one of the key ingredients of Udderbelly Festival. Highlights this year include:
• Nina Conti: With the help of Monkey and a bag of tricks, truly anything can happen in this unmissable improvised adventure of hilarious ventriloquism.
• Jason Byrne: Jason now brings back his warmth and generous stage craft with even more props and silly humour.
• No Such Thing As A Fish: Following their sell-out UK tour, the QI Elves perform a live episode of their multi-award-winning hit podcast. Join Dan Schreiber, Andrew Hunter Murray, James Harkin and Anna Ptaszynski as they serve up their pick of the most bizarre, extraordinary and hilarious facts they’ve discovered over the last 7 days.
• Jessie Cave: Jessie opens up her DIY heart and explains in definitely too much detail her insecurities, jealousies, fantasies and her exact current relationship status via shadow puppetry, masks and her little book of confessions.
• Christian O’Connell: Christian O’Connell has collected multiple radio awards as a national Breakfast show DJ for 16 years. He’s also collected multiple death threats, hate mail and abusive complaints. Follow his journey from teenage mixtape maker to award winning DJ.
• Massive Lazy Girls: Critically acclaimed sketch groups Massive Dad, Lazy Susan and Birthday Girls are joining forces for one night only.

Udderbelly also includes an expansive and illuminating of live entertainment for kids.
Our family programme includes: 

• The Amazing Bubble Man: Louis Pearl, the world’s leading Bubbleologist, returns with his fabulously entertaining family show. 

• Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids: Record-breaking beatboxer Shlomo returns to Udderbelly as a sonic superhero. Become one of his sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music, whether you’re aged 1 or 101.

Some people just can’t get enough of the cow. Returning favourites include: 

• Knightmare Live: Enter, stranger! Knightmare Live is back with a brand new concept and offers YOU the chance to wear the iconic helmet of justice and play the dungeon.
• Bec and Tom’s Awesome Laundry: Oh pants! It’s laundry day! But Bec has other ideas*. Blending sketches, storytelling, games and paper puppetry, this award-winning family comedy show is sixty minutes of good clean fun. Starring Bec Hill (CBBC’s The Dog Ate My Homework) and Tom Goodliffe. *Warning: Ideas may contain awesomeness.

• Austentatious: Austentatious returns to the Southbank in resplendent fashion! In each show, the all-star cast will improvise a brand new Jane Austen work before your eyes, based on audience suggestions.

Many more shows will be announced and available for public purchase on Friday 12 February.

London Wonderground (5 May – 25 September)
London Wonderground is a dazzling playground for the people: a slice of Coney Island fun in the heart of London. Back for a fifth year, the festival is renowned for hosting the best circus and cabaret from across the world in a riverside world, complete with a magnificent 1920s Spiegeltent and various rides and attractions.

Headline shows at London Wonderground this year include:
BARBU (15 June – 25 September):
Daring, daft and sexy as hell: Packed with astonishing acrobatics and perfectly-groomed beards, this is cabaret but not as you know it, performed by one of the world’s greatest circus companies – Canada’s Cirque Alfonse (Timber – Southbank Centre). A spectacularly raucous and sexy circus, BARBU will take the form of edge-of-your-seat, off-the-wall entertainment to a whole other level with breathtakingly sweaty performances. Set to a heart thumping score, circus and mayhem collide to wow you in this adventure of almighty skills and muscly torsos. Hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed premier at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, get ready to party.

BRIEFS 9 – 24 September (no performances Mondays):
After a dazzling, sell-out run in 2015, the larger-than-life Briefs boys return to London Wonderground in 2016.
Your glamorous host Shivannah guides you through a jaw-dropping, eye-popping evening of extravagant birdbath boylesque, too-close-for-comfort yo-yo tricks, valiant aerial acrobatics, irreverent interludes and show-stopping drag artistes.
They’ve spent the last year touring the globe, from Berlin to Brisbane, and now they’re back, with more circus skills, more disorder and more burlesque… with balls!

Other acts announced today for London Wonderground include Debra Stephenson– master impressionist and star of Dead Ringers, The Impressions Show and Coronation Street – who brings her live stage show to the Paradiso Spiegeltent for the first time (14 May).

Many more shows will be announced and available for public purchase on Friday 12 February.

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, Directors of Underbelly, said:
We’re really excited to be returning for Udderbelly’s 8th year at Southbank Centre and our 5th year with London Wonderground. The purple cow will be making her way back from her debut in Hong Kong to the heart of London for another summer of eclectic live entertainment. It’s great to be able to provide Londoners with an authentic festival environment at affordable prices, with an amazing programme of shows, set against an iconic skyline.

Judy Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre said:
The iconic purple cow has become a key part of the buzz that makes up summer on our site and once again we have an amazing variety of shows and projects as part of the wonderful Udderbelly Festival. Everything at Southbank Centre is aimed at the greatest number of people enjoying the widest range of arts and culture – Udderbelly is a lively and irreverent part of the mix.

Udderbelly and London Wonderground images can be downloaded here

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