Already a firm staple of London’s theatre calendar, our favourite (actually) underground festival returns, taking us deep into the vaults beneath Waterloo Station for another six-week extravaganza of the bizarre, the innovative and the provocative in theatre, physical theatre, art and music.
We dive into the labyrinthine programme to pick some of our highlights from this year’s VAULT Festival.
Gaining notoriety for their irreverent adaptations of classics, Filter presents Macbeth (4-15 February), merging Shakespeare’s thrilling tale of corruption, betrayal and ambition with innovative sound and music as the witches sit amidst a strange collection of electronic equipment on stage.
In True Brits (4-22 February), a violent encounter turns into a whirlwind romance in the aftermath of 7/7 as a young man struggles to be part of a British society that now distrusts him on sight. A humorous, honest and hopeful debut play from Vinay Patel.
Plunge headfirst into your basest animal desires with Artful Badger in Wild Worlds – Dark Side (until 14 February) exploring the animal instinct of the human condition. Judging by the list of warnings – strong sexual performance, fire, strobe lights, ‘you will get touched’ – it sounds like we are going to be in for quite the wild ride in the first narrative production from the famed pranksters. Possibly less invasive, each weekend, Artful Badger will work with the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts to produce an hour long series of scratch performances.
Comedy monster and Edinburgh Fringe favourite and terror, Red Bastard takes over with his longest ever run, leaving audience members on the edge of their seat for an interactive show in which anything (and everything) could happen as the Bastard unleashes risk and personal discovery on the unsuspecting. One for the brave…
Lothario Giovanni (25 February – 8 March) is let loose in Silent Opera’s latest immersive performance as audiences use a mobile app to interact and guide the wicked ways of Mozart’s bad-boy on his descent into hell. Want more classics but no time? Bitesize Chekov (4-8 March) presents an hour of physical theatre, farce, mime and dance interpretations of the playwright’s lesser known works.
Every Wednesday and Sunday, enjoy free music curated by The Nest Collective, bringing acoustic breakthrough acts, exciting new artists and some old favourites. And of course, expect the usual limb-flinging mischief when the Collective do what they know best with ceilidh bands including The Ceilidh Liberation Front, and Fitty Gomash.
Taking us deep into the night, VAULT Lates lines up another riotous series of specially curated club nights including Cirque Electric (Friday 6 February) from London’s Cirque du Cabaret including circus, burlesque and electro swing DJs and Filth (Saturday 7 February), a silent disco with a twist, get deep down and dirty with two channels or find the naughty third channel filled with things that make themselves right at home in the Vault’s dark corners…
Brand new for 2015, the Gallery at VAULT, curated by Emma Rock, showcases free art, live installation and performance alongside workshops and talks throughout the festival including the Feminist Women’s Institute’s Everyday Nakedness: Accounting who will be doing their tax returns – naked, as they explore non-sexual nudity. Photographer Katherine Leedale curates ‘Photograph Your Neighbourhood’ in partnership with homeless charity, The Passage, sharing her skills in street photography in a workshop session and a tour of your local neighbourhood with the best shots featured in the exhibition.
For young theatre lovers under 11, head to the Mini Vault for magical surprises including a free circus show and tiny person rave, Big Fish Little Fish.
Add in even more fringe theatre, comedy performances and brand new work plus the usual drinks, dancing and discovery set to take place every night throughout the bumper festival. Time to get lost with VAULT.
Browse the full festival programme: vaultfestival.com
VAULT Festival takes place until 8 March at: