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Susan Calman to Host Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit 2018

29th May 2018

On Monday 13 August, the second instalment of Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit will take place at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the 950 capacity McEwan Hall.  

Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit’s massive line-up of the best of the UK’s comedy circuit includes television and radio star, and Scottish national treasure Susan Calman (did someone say Strictly Come Dancing?!), current host of BBC Two’s The Mash Report Nish Kumar, comedian, actor and reality star Joel Dommett, The Unbelievable Truth regular, Irish comedian and actor David O’Doherty, and Funny Women competition and Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe award winner and soon-to-be Celebrity Masterchef contestant Zoe Lyons

The sensational evening will be hosted by Susan Calman in her only Fringe appearance this year, with more acts still to be announced. 

All ticket income will go directly to The Brain Tumour Charity, a cause close to Underbelly’s heart. Co-founder of Underbelly, Ed Bartlam’s son Alfie was just 4 years old when he was diagnosed with a form of aggressive brain cancer. Over a year on and Alfie continues to receive extensive treatment for his disease. 

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer for children and adults under 40 and increased funding for research is desperately needed. Around 500 children and young people in the UK are diagnosed each year but diagnosis times of childhood brain tumours are longer in the UK than in many other countries. The Brain Tumour Charity’s HeadSmart campaign aims to reduce brain tumour and brain cancer diagnosis times to four weeks or less.

Last year’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit line-up included John Bishop and Aisling Bea and raised a massive £18,000 for the charity. Underbelly has also raised funds throughout the Summer at their Underbelly Festival Southbank and Christmas at Leicester Square resulting in a £30,000 donation for The Brain Tumour Charity last year. Money which goes directly to support research and increased awareness of the issue.  

Following the death of Dame Tessa Jowell the Government has announced it will double a recent funding boost for brain tumour research. The late Cabinet minister campaigned for more resources to combat her disease and helped to raise awareness, however there is an urgent need for more resource to tackle this form of cancer and boost survival.

Ed Bartlam said: “I sadly know first hand how devastating a brain tumour diagnosis can be. The Brain Tumour Charity is doing an amazing job at both increasing awareness and raising money to fund much needed research into these forms of disease. Underbelly will continue to do everything in its power to raise as much money for the charity and the research as possible. This is the second year of our Fringe benefit show and by moving it to the majestic McEwan Hall, with more seats to sell than last year, we have the opportunity to raise even more money. So I urge you to use your brain and buy a ticket to an amazing bill of live comedy, in support a truly worthwhile cause.” 

Susan Calman said: “It takes a lot to get me out of my self-imposed (brief) retirement from stand-up comedy but when Underbelly asked me to host this show I had to say yes. They gave me one of my first breaks in the world of comedy by allowing me to perform several shows with them and have continued to support me throughout my career. It'll be an honour to MC this incredible show with so many fabulous acts for a brilliant cause. It's a must see show of the Fringe.”

Geraldine Pipping, The Brain Tumour Charity’s Director of Fundraising, said: “Our partnerships are key to our strategy of raising vital funds for research and awareness of the devastating impact of a brain tumour. The continued support of Underbelly and The Big Brain Benefit was a huge success in 2017 and we’re set to take this collaboration to a new level this year. We know that their invaluable help will make a real difference for everyone affected.

“Every year, 11,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour - that's 30 a day - and our five-year research strategy A Cure Can't Wait aims to double survival within 10 years and halve the harm caused by brain tumours on quality of life.

“We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations and gifts in Wills, so it’s only through the support of Ed, Charlie and the team at Underbelly, that we can work towards our twin goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours.

“We are committed to fighting for all those people whose lives are turned upside down by this devastating disease. Thank you to Underbelly for their continued support”.


To book tickets for Underbelly’s Big Brain Tumour Benefit visit:


 ‘Sharp, warm and massively entertaining’ Chortle on Susan Calman

‘Young, sharp and clever’ The Sunday Times on Joel Dommett

‘Massively charming and very witty… a delightful talent’ Time Out on Nish Kumar

‘Richly funny stories, Lyons has what it takes to delight any crowd’ The Guardian on Zoe Lyons

‘Seems to get better year on year… smart, well-judged stuff’ The Scotsman on David O’Doherty

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