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The Cowgate is the heart of Underbelly, home to its new writing theatre, comedy, cabaret and late-night music and mischief. 

Through the colourful years fabulous artists and companies have flocked to Cowgate. Some of the big names that have graced its spaces include Stewart Lee, Eddie Redmayne, Russell Howard, Flight of the Conchords, Tim Minchin, Mark Owen and Keane among hundreds of others. 

Artists whose early Fringes were at Cowgate include Will Adamsdale, Frisky and Mannish, Joan Rivers, Schlomo, Foil Arms and Hog, Danny Bhoy and Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller Bridge.

Plays including Fleabag, 1927’s Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and Imaginary Body’s 100 have had their premieres at Cowgate, and companies including Barrel Organ, Rhum and Clay and The Last Great Hunt have brought their work to audiences in the winding stairs and spaces of Edinburgh’s most shapely venue. 

Underbelly has championed new writing through awards such as the Old Vic New Voices, Underbelly Ideas Tap Award and now Untapped in partnership with New Diorama Theatre. Over the years the new writing programme has picked up many awards including Fringe Firsts in 2018 for dressed, It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, and Angry Allan.

People have danced till dawn in Belly Dancer to the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, Mark Owen, Keane, The Thrills, Skin and Athlete.

This year 75 shows are performed in 7 spaces from Belly Dancer to Belly Laugh. 

This year’s Untapped award winners – Tokyo Rose, Conspiracy and Art Heist, join other theatre shows including America is Hard to See, direct from its sell-out run in New York, an expose around next day delivery in Fulfilment, Francesca Moody Productions returning with Do Our Best performed by Remy Beasley, US playwright Jonathan Caren’s razor sharp dark comedy Four Woke Baes, the National Youth Theatre’s F.OFF, and Sam Steiner’s new A Table Tennis Play among many others plays.

One of the most talked-about comedy shows on last year’s Fringe Garry Starr is back with his new show Garry Starr Conquers Troy, Paul Foot continues to entertain audiences in Belly Dancer, Lucy Farrett, Courtney Pauroso, Roisin Crawley Linton, Danny O’Brien and Jack Tucker all bring new shows to Cowgate this year, and Double Denim bring their hilarious Contiki tour gone wrong, Hey Boss.

Charlie Wood left and Ed Bartlam right pose with the Underbelly cake to celebrate 20 years of cowgate