News: VAULT Festival returns for 10-year anniversary with biggest programme to date

It’s bigger, it’s bolder, it’s back; VAULT Festival will return from 25 January – 20 March 2022, celebrating its 10th anniversary with its biggest programme to date.  Produced by VAULT Creative Arts, VAULT Festival is one of the largest curated arts festivals in the world and the largest in the UK. In 2022, the festival will feature over 600 shows of the best new theatre, comedy, immersive experiences, cabaret, live performance, and late-night events from the brightest and boldest artists of our time.

With tickets now on sale for the first shows in the 2022 Festival’s programme, the full line-up will be revealed on Tuesday 23rd November 2021.

VAULT Festival Director & Co-Founder Andy George comments, We’re thrilled to be celebrating VAULT Festival’s 10th birthday by welcoming back artists and audiences to the festival. The last 21 months have been incredibly hard for everyone in the cultural sector, especially freelancers; we want VAULT Festival 2022 to be a beacon on the horizon that everyone can look forward to and to add colour and vibrancy to the cold winter months that lie ahead. We’re incredibly grateful to all the artists, audiences, partners, and staff who’ve worked with us and supported our mission over the past two years, and the eight that came before it, to mean we can still be here today presenting the brightest and boldest artists & live performance makers of our time.

Representation in the festival is seen both in the demographic of the artistic creators as well as in the style, content and format of the works: this is highlighted across the works announced as part of the VAULT Five, a nine-month mentoring programme for early and mid-career live performance makers, elevating their careers to the next level.  Julene Robinson, currently performing in the West End’s Get Up Stand Up, brings The Night Woman exploring one woman’s relationship to darkness and the associated language and connotations.  Through riveting poetic storytelling, music and sounds the narrative will unfold through a dramatic physical display of journeying into the dark using Jamaican folk storytelling and movement.  Acclaimed Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey transforms his poetry collection Please Do Not Touch (June 2021) into a two person play, looking at the irony and hypocrisy of ‘Please Do Not Touch’ signs in stately homes and museums, when the items they ‘protect’ should not be there at all as they belong to other countries and cultures.

Gemma Barnett fuses spoken word, dialogue, and music in Agatha: based on real life events, it explores female inherited trauma that begins with a denied abortion in the 60s and then goes on to tell the story of three generations of women battling lost dreams, addiction and each other. Katie Greenall (Fatty Fat Fat) presents Blubber, a new work-in-progress piece exploring fat queer bodies, their relationship to intimacy and loneliness and how marginalised bodies build communities.  This work considers how fat bodies function in water and follows Greenall taking synchronised swimming classes as part of her research.

The Silver Bell from Irish writer Alan Flanagan (Dark Shadows, BBC; Hollyoaks) explores grief and the desperation we feel to get back the ones we love, even if we really know that that’s not possible.  With heft and heart at its centre, the work is energetic and fast-paced using a science-fiction concept to bring its ideas to life.  From Barry McStay and Lucy Jane Atkinson, the team behind VAULT 2019 hit Vespertillio, All These Maybes(longlisted for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize) flashes between present and past – real or misremembered – and is a fluid exploration of love, loss, and regeneration. It depicts the malleability of memory and the ways in which we can become captive within our own existence, hugely relevant themes in light of recent global events.

JMK Award Winner Josh Roche directs Pennyroyal, which considers the morality of bringing children into the world in the current crisis, familial sister relationships and female infertility.  Pushing the boundaries of theatrical possibilities, Naughty, Or Nice? is both an online interactive show and a part pervasive-street game, part-escape room heist where both have very real consequences on the others’ outcomes.  It explores the way politicians have used protecting children and ‘family values’ as a way of attacking LGBTQ+ people throughout recent history.

In the comedy programme, Thaniya Moore brings Bully, a show which asks what is worse – to be bullied, or to be a bully.  Moore talks about being born to two working class Jamaican born parents, her childhood and how this has impacted her adult life.  Fringe favourite Elf Lyons looks at the relationship between herself and her deaf friend Brian Duffy in Elf & Duffy, with each show conducted entirely in British Sign Language and live sound foley.  Christian Brighty’s debut show Playboy offers a light-hearted clowning take on all the tropes we expect to see in period dramas; we meet the county’s most notorious rake who is guaranteed to make the whole town swoon.  ComedyMania, hosted by Aurie Styla, is a one-off night of hilarious stand-up comedy from around the UK. Featuring acts you love and others you’re yet to see, get ready to laugh the night away.  A show that will get your abs crunching without the need for a gym membership!

VAULT Festival’s renowned Lates programme is back and better than ever in 2021.  LADS is a feminist punk night for all.  Keeping accessibility at the heart of the nightlife experience, with walkabout audio descriptions and BSL, this is surely London’s most progressive club night.  The UK’s only Pan-Asian cabaret collective, audience favourites The Bitten Peach are back at VAULT Festival to take over the tunnels for Lunar New Year. And House of Burlesque are showcasing amazing fresh burlesque talent and body diversity in this sparkly camp and upbeat night out in Glitter Ball.

For the first time, VAULT Festival will offer an online programme of shows with VAULT Live On Demand providing audiences unable to make it to Waterloo the opportunity to experience the festival from the comfort of home. Selected shows will be streamed in the same week as the live performances.

This year will see the introduction of two ways for audiences to make the most out of VAULT Festival.  For those attending the Legendary VAULT Lates, the Party Pass will include free drinks, bar discounts, priority check in and free cloakroom.  Also new for 2022, the Festival Pass includes free tickets, free drinks, bar discounts, ticket discounts and a personalised festival pass. Other ways to support the festival and maximise your experience include becoming a VAULT Festival Supporter or a Festival Patron.

Safety is paramount at the festival this year, with an improved ventilation system and audiences required to show an NHS Covid Pass to access all venues and bars. The pass can show double vaccination, an LFT taken & uploaded within 48 hours, or having had Covid-19 in the last 6 months.  The festival remains cashless, all tickets will be contactless, test and trace will be in place alongside timed entry, and the wearing of face coverings will be recommended throughout. If a show is cancelled due to COVID restrictions, VAULT will refund, issue account credit, or exchange tickets according to customer preference.

Head to vaultfestival.com for more information about the first shows to be announced as part of VAULT Festival 2022 with the full programme to be revealed on 23rd November. VAULT Festival promises to light up the cold winter nights of 2022.

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