Cindy Marcolina's Top Ten VAULT Festival Picks

With over 500 productions running from the 24th of January to the 19th of March, VAULT Festival is back after a two-year hiatus.

By: Jan. 16, 2023
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Cindy Marcolina's Top Ten VAULT Festival Picks

London's biggest and most diverse live performance festival is finally back on its feet. Cut short due to the pandemonium of March 2020 and two consecutive years of darkness, VAULT Festival is reopening its doors to audiences and creatives.

With over 500 productions running from the 24th of January to the 19th of March, it's safe to say there will be something for everybody. From theatre to stand-up and from cabaret to Virtual Reality, VAULT Festival director and co-founder Andy George has put together an astonishing programme.

At a first glance - and considering the activism usually found at the festival - this year's line-up doesn't delve into politics too much, veering towards death and mental health more than in past years - and how could it not? The presence of the Global Majority isn't as noticeable as perhaps it was in previous editions, although there are quite a few non-British creators, which opens up a broader conversation on who is making theatre in these post-lockdown days. Unlike in 2020, climate change seems to have taken a step back to let in our relationship with the internet and the digital world.

After scouring the listings front to back, back to front, and then once more, just in case, I've come up with ten (only ten! Out of hundreds and hundreds! I won't go into the struggle) productions that immediately piqued our interest. So, below are my suggestions if you were to only pick a couple handfuls of VAULT shows in order of opening.

1. Caceroleo

Nastazja Domaradzka and Rhys Hastings question safe spaces in Caceroleo, which promises a fresh vision and hands-on activism. It sounds immersive and meta, created by innovators for innovators.

Runs from 24 January to 29 January.

2. The Ballerina

The Ballerina asks how political pressures affect democracy. Writer Anne-Sophie Marie examines how Africa fits in the conversation and questions the very nature of justice.

Runs from 31 January to 5 February.

Cindy Marcolina's Top Ten VAULT Festival Picks 3. Death Suits You

Death Suits You is back after a pre-pandemic run at Camden Fringe. This musical black comedy is an artistic and delicate look at death. Directed by Gabrielle Scawthornan, it features an original book, lyrics, and score by Sam Hooper and Robert Tripolino.

Runs from 7 to 10 February.

4. Borders ألسياج הגדר

Borders ألسياج הגדר is inspired by a real meeting between the Israeli writer and a Lebanese man on Grindr. This two-hander written by Nimrod Danishman and directed by Neta Gracewell explores love in the face of law and prejudice.

Runs from 7 to 12 February.

5. Under Heaven's Eyes

Under Heaven's Eyes goes into the root of the acrimony between the Black community and the police force. With constant news of law enforcement brutalising innocent members of the Black and Brown community, Christopher Tajah's piece seems like a timely, poignant play to see.

Runs from 7 to 12 February.

6. The Silver Bell

The Silver Bell is a sci-fi queer love story. Alan Flanagan writes and performs in this romantic adventure through the multiverse.

Runs from 7 to 12 February.

Cindy Marcolina's Top Ten VAULT Festival Picks 7. Residue

Residue looks like an empowering tale of what it means to survive abuse and the implications of moving forward. Written by Izzy Kabban and Verity Richards, it's created following a two-year project providing creative workshops for female victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Runs from 11 to 12 February.

8. Compositor E

Compositor E takes us back to Shakespearean times to explore trauma and storytelling. Written by Charlie Dupré and directed by Amie Burns Walker, it promises to explore the hidden fingerprints of history.

Runs from 14 to 19 February.

9. That's Ace

That's Ace aims the spotlight at platonic and asexual relationships in the LGBTQIA+ community, written and directed by Jonny Brace.

Runs from 14 to 17 February.

10. The Messiah Complex

The Messiah Complex is described as a "mind-bending psychological philosophical thriller", which is enough to fan the sparks of curiosity alone. Alexander Knott, James Demaine, and Ryan Hutton imagine a dystopian world where faith is outlawed.

Runs from 14 March to 19 March.

VAULT Festival runs at The Vaults from 24 January to 19 March.


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