Udderbelly on the move

Jan 15 2015 | By More

Purple Coo hoofs it over to George Square for fringe

Underbelly’s Purple Coo is on the move this fringe, hoofing over to George Square for a two-year rumination in more verdant pastures while Bristo Square and the McEwan hall are revamped.

The move will increase the fringe’s presence in George Square where the Coo – officially known as the Udderbelly – will take over the western side of the gardens closest to Middle Meadow Walk.

Udderbelly - the Purple Cow in Bristo Square, 2014

Udderbelly – the Purple Coo in Bristo Square, 2014. Photo: Underbelly

Underbelly has also revealed that Australian contemporary circus outfit Circa is creating a new commission specifically for the Udderbelly, Close-Up, which will premiere at this summer’s fringe.

Assembly’s presence in George Square will not be effected by the new tenant in the adjacent pasture. Its various Spiegeltents and outdoor venues will remain in the east side of the gardens and Underbelly’s co-director Charlie Wood told Æ that Assembly and its artistic director William Burdett-Coutts have been supportive of the move.

“We are moving everything that is within Bristo Square, not anything else,”  Charlie Wood told Æ. “The Cow will be moving from a concrete pasture to Bucolia I suppose.”

Underbelly and the University of Edinburgh have also reached an in principle agreement for Udderbelly to return to its original pasture of Bristo Square when the works are complete, which is expected sometime before the Fringe of 2017.

re-landscaping Bristo Square

“They are refurbishing the inside of McEwan Hall to bring it up to modern day standards,” said Wood. “Really, nothing has been done inside it since it was built. And then re-landscaping Bristo Square, taking out the rather nasty 1960s concrete.

“It will make it a much nicer, more open square which will be much more sympathetic to McEwan Hall, and create an entranceway in the north west corner of Bristo Square to get you down into the basement of McEwan Hall which will then become the main entrance to McEwan Hall.

“It will be great for the University, will bring the hall up to date and, when we go back in two years time, will be very helpful to us too.”

The 405-seat venue first appeared in the 2006 fringe as the E4 UdderBELLY. It has appeared at the Brighton fringe, in recent years has become a regular feature on London’s South Bank and now Wood revealed to Æ, there are plans to tour it south of the equator.

designed for the cow

Australian circus company Circa has been part of the Underbelly stable for two years, selling 35,000 tickets over two fringes for Wunderkammer (2013) and Beyond (2014). They had previously appeared at the Assembly Hall in 2009.

“We have been talking to Circa for a while about making a show which is specifically built for the cow,” says Wood. “It is very exciting that one of the world’s most exciting, dynamic contemporary circus companies is building a show that is going to be designed for the cow.

“The circus will be all around you. It will be up close and personal, it will be over the top of you, it will be all the way through the stomach of the cow.

“There is a long-term wish to tour the cow to the southern hemisphere. The plan, when we do that, is we will tour this show as well, in the cow.

“But the most important thing is that it will start in the cow, in Edinburgh, in its new home.”

The Edinburgh fringe runs Friday 7 to Monday 31 August 2015.

Tickets for Circa’s Close-Up will go on sale on 30 January.


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