After the early evening launch party, Rivers took to the stage with her stand-up show Unplugged and Uncensored, running for two more nights as the first offering in the eight-week season of comedy, circus, music, magic and theatre in the 400-seat cow, which will be grazing in Jubilee Gardens next to the Southbank Centre until 19 July 2009, before packing up and heading to Scotland to take its usual place at the centre of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
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Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly and Udderbelly directors (aka the self-styled “head farmers” Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood spoke at last night’s event, which was attended by a variety of performers featured in the season – including La Clique’s Miss Behave and Camille O'Sullivan – and other invited guests.
Theatre highlights in the London programme include a one-off performance of Lemn Sissay's one-man play Why I Don't Hate White People (13 July), new work from physical theatre company The Terrible Infants (8 to 14 June) and three performances of Private Peaceful (10 to 12 July), adapted from the award-winning children's book by Michael Morpurgo.
Other performers taking include comedians David O'Doherty, Clive James, Arthur Smith, Gina Yashere and Jason Byrne, and music and cabaret acts Beardyman and Australian favourites, Tom Tom Crew.
The Udderbelly is the largest outdoor arts event staged around the Southbank Centre since the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall in 2007. Outside the venue, the Udderbelly “pasture” contains a busy open-air bar and cafe area.
- by Terri Paddock