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A Brief Intro to… VAULT Festival

What better way to start the new year than with the return of VAULT festival to Leake Street Arches?!

Now in its seventh year, VAULT Festival, is one of the largest curated arts festivals in the world and in 2019 will welcome more than 400 shows to Waterloo. Running from 23rd January to 17th March with the best in new writing for theatre and comedy, immersive experiences, cabaret, live performance and late night parties, the exciting and diverse programme features shows from more than 2,000 artists.

This year, performances will take place across Waterloo with multiple spaces located underground in the festival’s central hub, The Vaults theatre. 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 here at Leake Street Arches will be a space dedicated to ground-breaking immersive performances while other pop-up venues include shipping containers, caravans and escape rooms.

For 2019, VAULT Festival will be supporting two important causes: Help Refugees and Child.org. All ticket transactions for VAULT Festival will provide audiences with the opportunity to donate to Help Refugees, providing humanitarian aid to displaced people around the world. Child.org will host an exclusive stage at The Horse & Stables pub and receive a percentage of ticket sales to support their Team Mum campaign, helping to fund pregnancy services in rural Kenya that offer health information and medical support for new mothers.

VAULT Festival is also continuing its partnership with WeAreWaterloo, supporting the local community with a range of initiatives aimed at residents and under 25s. The Festival is expanding its engagement scheme with SURGE, a brand new pilot programme of cross-arts projects, working with schools in the area to provide workshops and outreach performances.

Proudly supported by leading theatre publishers and performing rights agents Nick Hern Books, the VAULT Festival New Writers Programme will offer an eight-week practical writing course for prospective writers of any age, enabling them to develop a piece of writing for the stage, culminating in a public showcase in the final week of the Festival.
In collaboration with Meantime Brewing, VAULT Festival will be adding to their array of bars with a specially designed and purpose-built new craft beer bar. Local culinary masters PopCo will be serving up an EU inspired menu. The festival is investing in 12,000 reusable cups to significantly reduce single-use waste, alongside a switchover to paperless tickets, a ban on plastic straws, and a guarantee that all food and beverage packaging is biodegradable or recyclable.

With shows featuring rubber ducks, 90s RnB, and a border collie, there’s something for everyone at VAULT Festival 2019! To help visitors learn more about this huge range of shows, Leake Street Arches will be compiling Ten Top lists, showcasing a number of performances across specific genres but below are five unmissable performances that have already got the critics talking are below…

1. Counting Sheep (Theatre)
Headlining VAULT Festival, the immersive folk opera Counting Sheep returns to the UK for the first time since its award-winning run at The Edinburgh Fringe in 2016. This brand new adaptation, reimagined by the directors of the Belarus Free Theatre, is a deeply 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 electrifying exploration of human resilience invites audience members to be part of the revolution.

2. Ladykiller (Theatre)
Representing the highest calibre of work from the Fringe, VAULT Festival will also host the Pleasance Award winner, Ladykiller. This blood-soaked jet-black comedy offers the feminist case for female psychopaths: it’s not what it looks like, really, it’s not – it was self-defence and, anyway, the woman was asking for it.

3. One Duck Down (Family Fun)
Bobbing their way back to London, Faceplant Theatre return with One Duck Down, an eco-friendly family comedy inspired by the 7,000 rubber ducks that spilled into the ocean in 1992. Winner of Best Family Show at VAULT Festival 2018, this musical production about oceans and plastic pollution would make David Attenborough proud. Also promoting environmental responsibility with a twinkle in their eye, Blue Planet III is a nature documentary from two interns determined to fight rising sea levels and pollution to film the third series of Blue Planet within a flooded BBC.

4. Love Songs to Guinea Pigs (Comedy)
Elf Lyons will channel her inner Elton John to perform Love Songs to Guinea Pigs. With songs about, for and to guinea pigs, Lyons explores love and affection in her most personal show to date. Catherine Bohart presents new work, following her successful debut Immaculate, while Max and Ivan try things with two mics and a projector and Tom Parry celebrates life, love and losing your tie.

5. King for a Night (Lates)
Kicking the weekends off with blowout parties and irresistible iniquity, the Festival’s series of Lates promises nights of adventure. On Saturday 2nd February, Pecs Drag King Collective will be giving VAULT Festival the chance to be King for a Night. Visit the Mansformation Station to get ready for hot cabaret performances, sweaty dancing, 90s RnB and all your favourite drag kings.