As the 76th Edinburgh Festival Fringe draws to a close, Underbelly looks back on a successful year for its artists as over 150 shows attracted thousands through the doors at its iconic Bristo Square, George Square, Cowgate and Circus Hub venues.
Over the course of the month-long festival Underbelly reports sales of almost 300,000 tickets, an increase of 7% (year on year) from 2022, for its programme spanning an impressive selection of cabaret, circus, comedy, dance, theatre and children’s shows.
Underbelly is delighted to share in celebrating awards successes for many of its visiting companies. Supported by New Diorama Theatre, Concord Theatricals and Nouveau Riche, Underbelly’s Untapped Award prize winners for 2023, theatre company Side eYe brought their play Dugsi Dayz to Cowgate and writer Sabrina Ali was awarded the Popcorn Writing Award 2023. They have won £3,000 and support from BBC Writersroom. Also performing at Underbelly Cowgate was writer Doug Deans’ play 24, 23, 22 which was also longlisted for the Popcorn Writing Award.
Following a ‘best newcomer’ nomination in 2022, stand-up comic Emmanuel Sonubi’s Curriculum Vitae was nominated for Best Show by the Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2023.
Mind-bending magician Colin Cloud’s show After Dark won a Broadway Baby Bobby Award, which celebrates the very best of the best five star shows that the festival has to offer audiences.
Underbelly’s programme impressed award judges across the board including; Hong Kong physical theatre company Theatre de la Feuille was awarded Best Production by the Asian Arts Awards for their show Fall and Flow; Nobody’s Talking About Jamie was named the Best Fringe Debut as part of Theatre Weekly’s The Best of the Fest 2023; Mog The Forgetful Cat was named Theatre Weekly’s Best Family Show; Circa’s Peepshow (Club Remix) won Theatre Weekly’s Best Circus; debut Fringe show Sophie’s Surprise 29th won the Entertainment Now Week-on-Week (WoW) Award for Best Dance and Physical Theatre and Untapped Award winners
It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure were shortlisted for Holden Street Theatres’ Edinburgh Fringe Award. Plus, world-class circus troupes The 7 Fingers: Duel Reality and Circa’s Peepshow (Club Remix) received Seoul Arts Awards – these inaugural awards were set up to celebrate and encourage the global cultural exchange of performing arts without language barriers.
Comedy shows at Underbelly venues were showered with accolades including; Simon David’s Dead Dad Show won the Amused Moose Comedy Awards 2023’s Most Entertaining Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Show; Paul Foot’s Dissolve won Best Show at the ISH Comedy Awards; Kelly McCaughan’s Catholic Guilt was nominated for the ISH Comedy Awards Best Newcomer; Tim Murray is Witches won Entertainment Now Outstanding Musical Theatre Award and Paul Foot’s Dissolve won the Entertainment Now WoW Award for Best Comedy.
Underbelly also welcomes the news that, this September, Boy Out The City, written and performed by Declan Bennett, will be transferring to the West End for a limited season at The Lyric Theatre, popular comedy musical Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder will be enjoying future runs at the Bristol Old Vic and HOME, Manchester, award-winning play Dugsi Dayz will have dates in Bristol and Leicester; and, following a sell-out Fringe run, Shoot From The Hip will be performing at Leicester Square Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East over the coming months.
At the close of their 23rd year at the Edinburgh Fringe, Underbelly’s co-directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said: “It’s been another fantastic year at the Fringe and we congratulate all our companies on completing a successful run at the greatest arts festival in the world. We never fail to be astounded by the immense talent on display in our programme and we can’t wait to return to do it all again in 2024.”
Edinburgh Fringe 2023 may be over but to keep up-to-date on Underbelly productions all year round head to www.underbelly.co.uk