The fastest growing arts festival in the UK, VAULT Festival 2020 is back from Tuesday 28th January with its biggest ever edition across eight packed weeks. With more than 500 shows now on sale, the bold and innovative programme will feature shows from more than 2,700 artists, with 64% of work being female-led, 33% and 25% of work from LGBTQ+ and BAME artists respectively.
VAULT Festival’s founding principle was to provide a place for live performance of all genres and styles to be able to flourish in a supportive environment. VAULT500 aims to develop and nurture the next generation of artists by being an accessible platform for people from all backgrounds, with emerging makers now appearing alongside such established artists as Shappi Khorsandi, Mark Watson and Jordan Brookes. As part of this mission to support a truly relevant and diverse programme, this year the Festival team has committed to partnerships with a number of creative and charitable organisations.
The VAULT Festival Directors and Producers Mat Burtcher and Andy George commented: “We are excited about the new partnerships we’ve formed this year. Our goal has always been to continually break down barriers to inclusion, providing as many opportunities for artists as we are able, whatever their background. VAULT Festival continues to fill and expand cultural imaginations, and we want to encourage everyone to fill their lives with creativity, adventure and inspiration.”
In partnership with Nouveau Riche (Queens of Sheba; Typical), VAULT Festival will see two new shows from BAME-led creative teams. The Brand Nouveau Riche Initiative VAULT Festival Edition will nurture emerging writers and directors of colour to create new pieces which will premiere in rep at the Festival during Week 7 and Week 8; the open call-out will close on Friday 20th December.
In association with VAULT Festival, Northern Stage celebrates their 50-year anniversary with its first-ever takeover, bringing four shows down to London from alumni companies of their NORTH Scheme. Bonnie and the Bonnettes delve into motherhood, womanhood and femininity in And She while Circ Motif’s The Art of Cuddling and Other Things… combines circus and narrative to explore connection, touch and isolation. Melody Sproates presents the honest and hilarious *Gender Not Included about figuring out your own trans/non-binary experience in a world that doesn’t fully understand it and Minge Unhinged is the celebration of all things fabulous, ridiculous and thoroughly inappropriate from all-female comedy sketch group, Your Aunt Fanny.
VAULT Festival has also introduced a brand new programme of Forge Lates on Friday nights, providing a creative space for new companies who want to make an impact on the late night entertainment scene. The Cocoa Butter Club will showcase burlesque, circus, drag, aerial, hoops, spoken word, vocals and celebrate performers of colour while the cream of the new crop of graduates of Soho Theatre’s Cabaret & Drag Lab will take to the stage dripping with queerness, punkery, sauciness and downright filth.
From a new partnership between COMMON and VAULT Festival, the inaugural year of The CULTIVATE Bursary will be awarded to two working class artists at this year’s Festival. The recipients of the Bursary will receive a £1,000 cash injection towards the cost of their production and £750 worth of PR and marketing, as well as mentorship and increased industry exposure.
VAULT Festival 2020 will also host the winners of Wildcard Theatre’s RAISE and 4 of a Kind Awards. Helping an artist present their first full professional production, RAISE was awarded to Alinement Productions for A Lightweight Disposable Product which is the explosive, poetic and rebellious spectacle of one young, mixed race woman’s journey from teenage runaway to one of the UK’s first women working in punk. 4 of a Kind will support four early career companies to establish themselves and get their projects off the ground through works-in-progress showings.
Brand new for the 2020 festival is the Time for Change Space in collaboration with Restless Development – a charity who train and support 8,000 youth leaders around the world to effect change in their communities, working to end poverty, inequality and fight injustice. Four Q&As will link to shows which deal with issues connected to Restless Development’s aims and the space will offer installations, interactive elements and talks about changing the world we live in for the better – all free of charge. It will feature takeovers from VAULT Festival’s partners Extinction Rebellion; Staging Change, an organisation committed to promoting environmentally sustainable practices in the theatre industry; Child.org’s Team Mum Campaign, which helps fund pregnancy services in rural Kenya; and Let’s Talk, an initiative with Guy’s and ST Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to open up conversations around mental health, grief and refugee health.
For more information visit vaultfestival.com
Photo credit: Tom Shannon