When: 23rd January – 17th March 2019
Where: At various venues in Waterloo, London
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event
What is it?
VAULT is one of London’s biggest and boldest annual arts and entertainment festivals, hosting hundreds of events across theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences and late night parties. Now in its seventh year, VAULT Festival 2019 takes place from Wednesday 23rd January to Sunday 17th March with a broad and diverse programme of more than 400 shows in venues around Waterloo.
This year’s festival programme features shows from more than 2,000 artists, with 53% of work being female-led and 25% of work coming from LGBTQIA+ artists.
Performances will take place across Waterloo with multiple spaces located underground at the festival’s central hub, The Vaults. Other festival venues include London’s secret community performance space, The Network Theatre; upstairs at The Horse & Stables pub; Granby Place; and the Travelling Through Bookshop on Lower Marsh, where you can catch fresh material from television favourites and hot new comics. Unit 9 on Leake Street will be a space dedicated to ground-breaking immersive performances, while other pop-up venues include shipping containers, caravans and escape rooms.
Headlining the festival will be immersive folk opera Counting Sheep, reimagined by the directors of the Belarus Free Theatre. Counting Sheep is a personal retelling of the Ukrainian Revolution, exploring the real-life narrative of the creators who fell in love on the barricades of Maidan Square. With folk singing, found footage and revolutionary staging, this exploration of human resilience invites audience members to be part of the revolution.
The makers of Counting Sheep will also present the London premiere of Balaklava Blues; an ethno-bass live set, coupled with archive footage, iconic Soviet cartoons, and the polyphonic blues of the Ukrainian plains.
The New Diorama Theatre will showcase some of the UK’s most exciting ensemble work at the festival; staging some of their recent Edinburgh hits, including A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), a hilarious yet gut-wrenching story about depression, Kill the Beast’s Director’s Cut, a comedy staged on the set of a 1970s horror movie, and Queens of Sheba, a funny, poetic and unflinching look at misogynoir.
Representing the highest calibre of work from the Fringe, VAULT Festival will host the winner of the Summerhall Award, The Myth of the Singular Moment, and Pleasance Award winner, Ladykiller. Born in part out of co-creator Jim Harbourne’s experience with Huntington’s Disease, The Myth of the Singular Moment is scored by a contemporary folk soundtrack and tells of the choices we make and those we don’t. Ladykiller is a blood-soaked jet-black comedy offering the feminist case for female psychopaths.
More theatre will come from Irish company MALAPROP’s Jericho, which considers the world we live in and explores wrestling, journalism and confusing entertainment and politics; and Katie & Pip, about the relationship between Katie, a Type 1 Diabetic teenager, and Pip, her border collie, trained to save her life on a daily basis. Making an invisible disability visible, with help from a real dog.
VAULT Festival sees several new shows telling the stories of women marginalised by history. 10 is the history of Britain since Boudicca, told by ten influential women; while Rascal Theatre’s Galvanise sees three young women rediscover forgotten female leaders from across the world. Musical The Limit puts the self-taught mathematician Sophie Germain centre-stage, exploring how she disguised herself as a man to submit work.
The VAULT Comedy Festival will offer audiences the opportunity to see the start of something special, catch works-in-progress from household favourites like James Acaster, Phil Wang and Desiree Burch and debut hours from up coming acts such as Helen Bauer, Chloe Petts and Kayla Macquarie.
VAULT’s series of Lates promises nights of adventure, with Pecs Drag King Collective giving the festival the chance to be King for a Night, and a Valentine’s Special Eat Your Heart Out! from Shotgun Carousel, with a multi-room extravaganza of bands, DJs, cabaret and even a sham wedding chapel. Visit the Mansformation Station to get ready for hot cabaret performances, sweaty dancing, 90s RnB and all your favourite drag kings. Immersive specialists SPECIFIQ and Rogue Productions return with RUCKUS, a raucous St Patrick’s Day shindig with a vintage gangster vibe.
More info: vaultfestival.com