VAULT Festival Top Picks for February

There’s only one week to go before VAULT Festival takes over Waterloo. Back for eight weeks of the most innovative and exciting live performance, more than 600 shows are on sale to make sure 2020 starts in the best way possible – head underground from Tuesday 28th January until Sunday 22nd March 2020 for London’s biggest, boldest and wildest arts festival!

The recipients have been announced for the VAULT Edition of the Brand Nouveau Initiative. Bringing together a group of the best black and minority ethnic artists ready to take the next step in their careers, the scheme provides opportunities to expand networks, receive first class mentoring, and benefit from creative space, time and research opportunities. The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English, written by Tania Nwachukwu, explores the cultural history of a first generation British-Nigerian woman of Igbo descent, using African theatre practices, call and response, dance, song, and poetry. This will play in rep with Resonate, a pulsating lyrical journey into the soul of a modern young man which plunges into the mania of addiction. Written by Ntonga Mwanza, it merges physical theatre, hip hop dance and spoken word.

Its inaugural year has seen The CULTIVATE Bursary, in association with COMMON and The Corn Exchange, Newbury awarded to Shy Bairn Theatre for Talk Propa and to Sarah Henley for Essence. Awarded to two working class artists at this year’s Festival, they will receive a £1,000 cash injection towards the cost of their production and £750 worth of PR and marketing support, as well as mentorship and increased industry exposure. Essence explores what it’s like to be lonely, how much it takes to let people in, and how the messy bits of life are ultimately where the gold lies. Talk Propa takes down reductive stereotypes and radically deconstructs the concept of a ‘generic northern accent’ in a celebration of all things northern.

The VAULT Festival Directors and Producers Mat Burt and Andy George comment, With VAULT Festival 2020 just around the corner, we’re excited to share this year’s programme. Over 600 shows are joining us underground for what promises to be our biggest, boldest and wildest year yet. In times of crises, now more than ever we need to inspire and affect change – as well as relishing our lives and those around us. Whether you’re looking for work that’ll change your perspective on the world or feeling ready to immerse yourself in something completely new, whether you’re on a date, hanging out with your family or spending time with mates, we know there’ll be something in our programme for everyone. 

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This year, VAULT Festival has your calendar all tied up:

If you’re avoiding the romance, flowers and chocolate of Valentine’s Day, try something with a slightly different tone with Alex Edelman. Ricocheting from a surprising encounter with Prince William, his newly-minted Olympian brother, and a gorilla who can do sign language, Just For Us centres around an explosive confrontation. After he found himself targeted by strong anti-Semitic online abuse, Edelman decided to covertly attend a meeting of those same anti-Semites.

To celebrate Galentine’s Day on 15th February, Pussy Liquor are inviting you to throw away societal expectations at their Self-Love Sanctuary, a riotous, grrl-power queer disco, designed to make you feel as good as hell. Featuring a decadent, gratuitous feast of cabaret performance, DJs and immersive experiences, this is a festival of self-love, self-confidence and self-worship in a world that inspires the opposite. It’s a raucous and jovial celebration of all things body positive!

This half term families are invited to meet a woman whose beauty caused a civil war with Nest. Told by jesters through song, dance and rhyme, this is a tale of Nesta Ferch Rhys, the Welsh Princess who bewitched Kings, Princes and courts. A woman of true Welsh blood; a woman with a story to tell. The Festival’s family shows reflect the weird and wonderful offerings found across the rest of the programme. Promising duels, elephants and castles built of cheese come to life in The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen which sees award-winning comedians and improvisers challenge each other to invent outrageous swashbuckling stories about the Baron. All they have is their wits and some silly hats. There is also the Super Scary Film Club (For Kids) that parodies iconic horror movies through the ages to create a family-friendly monster movie marathon for brave children and braver adults.

To celebrate St David’s Day on 1st March, make sure to see Ryan Lane will be there now in a Minute. Ryan Lane’s playful, inventive and intimate character comedy explores what it means to be Welsh, queer and the myths that fuel national identity. A fast-paced, whip-smart satire with belly laughs, bellowing Rugby teachers, beguiling maidens, belligerent Grandma’s and brilliant lip syncing, the show is made with help from friends, family and 29 years of Welsh self-hatred.

This International Women’s Day on 8th March, learn more about Annie Londonderry, hailed as the first woman ever to cycle around the world in 1895, in Ride. The incredible true story of a young woman with big plans, and an even bigger imagination, bursts onto the stage in this new musical from the award-winning team behind The Limit. Alternatively explore a different kind of travel with LegalAliens, the female-led ensemble comprised entirely of artists who are migrants in the UK. Their production Closed Lands traces the history of modern walls – real and metaphorical – from Berlin to Mexico to Europe in an unique fusion of poetry, satire, reportage, multimedia and a traveller’s diary.

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For a perfectly unnerving Friday 13th this March, visit Dig, the new immersive production from the award-winning Fever Dream Theatre which sees a shipping container transformed into a tunnel as the audience experience first-hand the pressure of an enclosed space. Myth, legend and history mix underground as the pressure grows, time runs out, the ceiling creeks and the air gets thin.

Gird your loins for Sodom & Begorrah’s St Patrick’s Day X-Travaganza on 14th March and, hopefully, recover in time for the day itself on the Tuesday. Expect Ireland’s finest cabaret, drag artistes, live music and, of course, their iconic midnight sing-a-long. Shake out those snakes for a night of Paddy’s Day foolery for everyone. Even the Protestants can come. Sodom & Begorrah is more than just a club night. It’s a good old fashion Irish knees up full of heart, glitter and sods of turf.

Don’t miss out on some of the most innovative work around. Head to vaultfestival.com for more as VAULT Festival promises to make your 2020 something special!

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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