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Udderbelly Returns as Part of Southbank's 60th

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Edinburgh Fringe staple, the E4 Udderbelly will return to London's South Bank this year for an extended 12-week season from 28 April to 17 July. Taking up residency for the third year in a row, the venue will then make its annual move north of the border for August.

The Udderbelly will play host to its trademark mixture of comedy, cabaret and theatre as well as hosting acts as forming part of the Southbank Centre's 60th anniversary celebrations of the Festival of Britain which were announced today (19 January 2011).

Full programming for the Udderbelly has still to be announced, but co-director Ed Bartlam who operates the Udderbelly as part of the Underbelly venue chain today said tickets will go on sale for events in mid February. As part of the Southbank's 60th anniversary celebrations the Underbelly will take part in the 60 Years of British Comedy season.

Highlights of the Southbank Centre's celebrations include a temporary museum about the Festival of Britain in the Royal Festival hall titled the Museum of 1951 which will feature memorabilia, artwork and photographs curated by designers Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. The 1951 event, which was seen as a "tonic to the nation" for post-war Britain, was the catalyst for the creation of the Royal Festival Hall - on the site a previous concert hall wrecked by the Blitz - and saw a quarter of the British population, some 8.5 million people, visit London's South Bank.

Echoing the themes of the Festival of Britain, the Southbank Centre will transform its entire site into a outdoor festival with four zones; People of Britain, Land of Britain, Sea and Ships and Power and Production celebrated through events in the Royal Festival Hall and pop-up structures, themed fairground rides, and al fresco eating and drinking. The celebrations, which are supported by credit card provider MasterCard, will be staged from 22 April 20 4 September 2011.

Amongst other events at the Southbank Centre announced today are a major work by artist Tracey Emin taking up the entire Hayward Gallery titled Love is What You Want; a choral weekend from 13 to 15 May which will include a Massive Massiah with choirs from across the country coming together for a massed performance of Handel; and a series of events and talks titled National Treasures which will focus on figures including 2011 Whatsonstage.com Award nominee Myra Syal and former Cabinet Minister Tony Benn.

In a change to what was previously reported, a spokesperson for Stewart Lee today (20 January 2011) advised us that although the comedian will curate a weekend festival - expected to be held from 27 to 30 May 2011 - it may not form part of the Southbank's celebrations and is not yet fully programmed.


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