Hurrah! This week, London’s VAULT Festival makes its return to venues across Waterloo and South Bank with more than 500 shows. You can expect a good mix of cabaret, comedy, theatre, music and spoken word from this eclectic performance festival. On until 19th March 2023, there’s everything from creature-filled karaoke and immersive discos to baby-friendly raves and daft games. But with so much on, how do you choose what to see? We’d say, just take a punt on something that catches your eye. Here’s a few shows that have caught ours:
Head to The Flair Ground for day and night entertainment
Whether you’re looking for daytime or night-time entertainment, The Flair Ground at The Vaults on Leake Street is a good gamble. Here you’ll find some of the most quirky shows and exciting experiences at the festival. During the day, you’ll find more family-focused shows that fill the senses and immerse you in new landscapes. Then, as night falls expect something altogether different as cabaret, karaoke and circus shows burst on stage to liven up your evening at The Flair Ground Lates.
On 17th February is The Office Party from ‘theatre trouble-makers’ BAIT, where workers are uniting for a live-art night of anarchic, immersive cabaret. Expect thumping beats and illicit water cooler moments at this late night/early morning shindig. Or don your best feathers and sparkles for House of Burlesque’s mega silent disco Glitter Ball on 18th February. It promises prizes, provocative pop-up performances, flash-mobs, glitter hostesses and mini-tutorials. And if you like dressing up, pop on your best creature costume for Dykes on Mics’ Crafty Creature Karaoke night on 24th February, where singing and live sketching go hand-in-hand.
Just in case you thought cabaret entertainment and dancing was just for the night-time and solely for adults, there’s Cabababarave. From 28th January to 11th March, hosts Lizzie and Gemma give parents the chance to have a ‘night out’ (but in the daytime and with the little one in tow). There’s show-stopping cabaret interspersed with captivating baby sensory moments and a rave finale, because… why not?
Dark history and light entertainment
Throughout the festival, audiences can immerse themselves in new worlds, experiencing both the past and the future. Discover what it’s like to survive a plane crash in Chronic Insanity’s interactive, improvised, storytelling show All Falls Down until 28th January. Or take a journey into a missing artist’s mind in Dread Falls Theatre’s Patient 4620, from 7th to 12th February. On 26th February, you can walk through USSR labour camps and the theatres that were built inside with Theatre of Gulags. And from 14th to 19th February, have an intimate immersive experience with Rooms Left Behind. This digital/live hybrid show draws on artists’ lived experience from Hong Kong and Moscow, to present complicated identities and political immigration.
Traces of the Wind on 28th and 29th January, gives audiences a chance to explore an immersive landscape of the wind with installations, live sound, video, and objects. Meanwhile, hard-rocking family-friendly extravaganza Mules on 23rd February provides a chaos-fuelled adventure that’s packed with daft games, fantasy and distorted guitars.
Give some new shows a go with VAULT’s Special Programming
The VAULT Festival’s Special Programming brings you a combination of fresh performances and award-winning shows. VAULT Five is a bunch of new shows featuring work from cutting-edge and early-year artists. This fab five includes a mix of spoken word poetry, movement, live looping and animation in Dark Matter and an intimate, autobiographical piece on the connection between our bodies and water in Right of Way. In addition, award-winning Ugly Bucket bring you outrageous clowning and a thumping techno soundtrack in Good Grief and VAULT Festival hosts a few of its Edinburgh Fringe picks.
For more festival fun, head this way!
When: On until 19th March 2023
Where: Venues across Waterloo and South Bank, London
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the show. Single tickets cost from £6 and a festival pass costs £49. The pass gets you 4 tickets, 4 drinks and a 10% discount on further festival tickets
More info: vaultfestival.com