Though the nights of January are dark and gloomy, it’s also a time when something stirs deep beneath the streets of Waterloo. A compelling circus of over 500 shows, VAULT Festival is the champion of innovative and risk-taking performances from the worlds of comedy, theatre, and performance art that delights Londoners through the cold winter months. Sadly cancelled last year (the third year in a row of cancellation), when the festival was set to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, the festival is back and bigger than ever before!
It’s safe to say that no theatre scene in London offers quite the variety that VAULT Festival does. From fresh new arrivals to much-hyped Edinburgh Fringe transfers, it’s a cornucopia of delights. And there’s plenty of time to take in a performance as the festival runs from January 24 – March 19.
On offer at the VAULT Festival
Over the course of the festival’s two months, expect a truly dizzying array of performances. There are shows for any taste and any audience. Catch stand-up performances from household names, or side-splittingly funny improv performances. Or spice up your evenings with shows at the brand new for 2023 venue, The Flair Ground. There you’ll find cabaret, drag, burlesque performances, and more, that simply ooze glamour.
There will even be circus shows, immersive and virtual reality experiences, and late night parties to keep the fun going. Add to all that the niche musicals, powerful new drama, unflinching comedy, and a whole host of undefinable spectacles, and it still feels like you haven’t quite encapsulated the breadth of possibilities that the VAULT Festival offers.
The whole thing will kick off with the Big Birthday Bash, celebrating over a decade of VAULT Festivals. It’s set to be a night of cabaret and circus with plenty of birthday cake, all hosted by Rhys’s Pieces. Be sure to bring your party hat!
Not sure where to start with everything on offer? Here are our picks of can’t-miss shows at the VAULT Festival.
⚛️ Tatenda Matsvai’s Dark Matter, brings together quantum physics and Zimbabwean myth to reconnect and reconcile with one woman’s past. (Multiple dates)
🎭 It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure, from award winning disability-led Theatre Company FlawBored, is a satire on the commercial exploitation of identity politics and disability. (Multiple dates)
🌐 Borders, written by Nimrod Danishman, explores queer identity and Middle Eastern geopolitical circumstances through the true story of the Israeli writer matching with a Lebanese man on Grindr. (Multiple dates)
🏸 Incognito Theatre’s The Net Kill is a ridiculously funny story of a five-man badminton team sent to vanquish a beast. The show even includes live badminton! (Multiple dates)
📺 The PECS Drag Kings return to VAULT Festival with Pecs: Icons, a club cabaret extravaganza of pop culture kings, TV highlights and quintessential queer royalty. (February 25)
🍑 David Ferguson’s Nice Bum looks at his former experiences as a homeless person through a tragi-comic lens. (Multiple dates)
🕹️ John Robertson: The Dark Room traps the audience in a retro, text-based adventure video game with a sadistic end-of-level boss. (Multiple dates)
Check out the full programme, and grab tickets for all shows from vaultfestival.com, and in person at the VAULT Festival Box Office from 5:30PM during festival opening dates. Prices vary, with ticketed events starting at £6.
The VAULT Festival takes place at The Vaults, Leake St, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. There is no parking, so travel by public transport if you can.
Also published on Medium.