News: Edinburgh Fringe 2017 – Underbelly Confirms Its Biggest & Best Year Yet

Underbelly has celebrated the end of its 18th year on the Fringe with the announcement of its biggest and best year yet with record breaking ticket sales across all its venues. Presenting 150 shows across 16 venues, tickets sales increased across the board by 17% to 291,000. 

Circus Hub on the Meadows, now in its third year and firmly established as the place to see the best in world circus, showed unprecedented growth issuing 70,000 tickets, an increase of 45% from its first year in 2015. 

Underbelly’s theatrical programme saw critical acclaim with FAG/STAG being awarded a coveted Scotsman Fringe First award, there were also multiple successes in The Stage Awards – for Dust’s actor and writer Milly Thomas, The B*easts’ Monica Dolan and the team behind Prom Kween, who also picked up a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards. 

In comedy, Elf Lyons was nominated for Best Comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for her one-woman show taking on Swan Lake, and Ian Smith picked up a ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards.

The Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence named two winners this year – both Hot Gay Time Machine and The Prophetic Visions of Bethany Lewis will transfer to the festival in 2018.

The Scotsman launched its inaugural Mental Health Fringe Award, nominating Hear Me Raw’s exploration into orthorexia nervosa and Jack Rooke’s: Happy Hour tackling male suicide. 

Another highlight from this year was Underbelly’s Big Brain Benefit, a benefit for The Brain Tumour Charity featuring John Bishop, Danny Bhoy, Jason Byrne, Aisling Bea, Iain Stirling, Charlie Baker, Abandonman and Urzila Carlson which raised more than £17,500 for the charity.  

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors, Underbelly said: "It’s been an absolutely astonishing year for Underbelly, we’ve smashed all sales records and have had consistently packed houses across all of our venues with audiences enraptured by the talent on show. We’re immensely proud of our 2017 programme and how well it’s been received by audiences, industry and media. In particular, we are delighted our first ever Big Brain Benefit raised so much money for a charity which is very close to our hearts, so thank you to everyone who took part, bought a ticket or donated cash. Expect to see an even Bigger Brain Benefit in 2018! Every year we are inspired by the talent, creativity and commitment of the artists, performers and staff across Underbelly, and we would like to thank 2017’s incredible team who worked tirelessly to deliver such an exceptional year.”


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