The Basics

What is VAULT? VAULT is London’s biggest arts festival, which happens every year between January and March. Our home is The Vaults, Waterloo, London a cavernous labyrinth featuring dozens of venues, pubs and hidden treasures.

Who can apply? Anyone at all. Whether you’re an individual artist or a full fledged company, you can apply to bring your show to the Festival next year.

When can I apply? Right now – applications for all four strands of the Festival are open until 31st August 2017.

What else do I need to know? All the information you need to apply can be found in application packs for each of the four programming strands; just follow the link above.


The Vaults, Waterloo, London
24th January – 18th March 2018

“One of the most diverse and eclectic lineups of any arts festival in the capital.”
This Is Cabaret

“You could be in Hogarth’s London, so bursting is it with unruly, gamey life”
The Independent

“The epitome of underground theatre… a cavernous treasure trove… the spirit of the Fringe is alive, well and thriving in SE1.”
A Younger Theatre

Join us underground in 2018 for the sixth year of VAULT Festival.
VAULT is London’s biggest arts festival, and from January 24th, hundreds of new shows, events and performances will explode across our Waterloo home.

“Goes from strength to strength with a vibrant, varied programme full of theatrical treats… a brilliant place to spot new talent…”
The Stage

In 2017 we crafted six undiluted weeks of entertainment for London. From top notch comedy to thrilling drama, from table-top stomping music to an eye-popping film selection – VAULT ’17 was our biggest and best yet. 

We’ve now opened applications to be a part of VAULT 2018: learn more about that here.

As for what’s in store, you’ll just have to wait and see. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and catch up with our regular blogs to find out how things are going, or join our mailing list to be the first to know what’s coming next.

Read More: Our Philosophy | Our Story | Your Visit


The Vaults, Waterloo, London
25th January – 5th March 2017

“The business model for the creative industries is broken. For every performer at Edinburgh working for nothing, read musician on Spotify or writer on the net. Providers of content make peanuts, while the controllers of the infrastructure… walk away with extraordinary profits.
… How can we transfer some of the wealth grabbed by, say, hotels in Edinburgh and hand it to the people who generated it?”

Patrick Collinson, The Guardian, 29 / 8 / 15

We want VAULT Festival to be the people’s festival. For six weeks, join this carnival of experience, filled with entertainment and unexpected adventure. From hard-hitting drama to outrageous comedy, from dance to late-night parties, VAULT takes in the bravest and best of the next generation of creators.

“It’s risky to bring a show [to Edinburgh Festival] … in the faint hope that someone will spot a gold nugget and offer to help nurture it. In any case, if you are only here with something in the hope of catching someone’s eye, you are selling audiences short. They should be the people you really make the show for, not some producer who may or may not pitch up.”

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 20 / 8 / 15

We put up the flag here at the edge of theatreland, and gather acts & artists, bands & companies from all over to come and make something unforgettable.

We’re doing our best to reinvent the non-funded creative sector and make it sustainable for both the artist and the festival. What we give is space: to innovate, take risks and cooperate with each other. We don’t charge rent. We do take 30% of show box office, which goes some way – but not all the way – towards covering our costs. The artists get the other 70% – a better deal than Edinburgh venues offer. In this way, Artists and Festival live or die together.

VAULT is built around a triangle of interests: the audience, the artists, and the staff who make it happen. It’s designed to be a rewarding experience for all three, exploiting no one. Come and see what the people have made: there’s a conversation every single night about where we go from here.

The VAULT Story

The Vaults, Waterloo, London
25th January – 5th March 2017

VAULT Festival was created by the Heritage Arts Company in 2012. We wanted to design a festival around a triangle of interests – the audience, the artists, and the staff – without unfairly disadvantaging any of them. We pulled together artists who didn’t mind the idea of delivering a show in an unused, unlicensed ‘venue’ under the ground in exchange for fair treatment. With contributions from KILN Theatre, Silent Opera, HAMMER Horror, future Fringe First-winners Katie Bonna & Richard Marsh and several others, an eclectic and exciting artist-led programme began to emerge beneath London’s busiest commuter station.

It worked. 7,500 people came to the three weekends of events which were the product of genuine, shared creativity

With no VAULT in 2013, people wanted us back. The hard work of volunteers, staff and artists created something that seemed to fill a void in the arts landscape. And artists and audiences alike asked why there wasn’t another one on the horizon.

When we decided to bring VAULT back for 2014, we  wanted it to be a lot bigger – if it was going to be a real opportunity for artists, it also had to be one hell of a playground for audiences. So we made a six week, thirty-day stretch of relentlessly busy programming with as much variety as we could fit under one roof. We experimented with season-long adaptations of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas and Ian McEwan’s The Cement Garden. We needed to make sure the artists were getting the best possible opportunity they could. We almost doubled our lineup: including acts who would go on to huge success – Superbolt Theatre, Nabokov & Dawn State amongst them, & comedians like Luisa Omielan, Sara Pascoe & Yve Blake.  And we more than quadrupled the amount of seats available to the public. The response was astonishing

VAULT 2015 was a huge step up in the quality of the festival. We turned pro in 2015 – remember the decor, remember the atmosphere? It was totally different – we had found our stride. We featured our own Italian restaurant with Forza Win, and a programme of over 100 artists. With a growing team of festival staff, armed with experience and belief, we welcomed over 30,000 people to the Festival. Emma Thompson told us we were ‘the Future of Theatre’ and our press ballooned to reviews and features in over 300 outlets. The Festival had truly arrived.

VAULT 2016 saw 40,000 guests come down to join us underground, and with a line-up that included a new Film Festival, a wildly entertaining family programme, and a bigger-than-ever roster of artists, who could blame them? The Suffolk Punch was our next restaurant, with fine produce from the coast made by the Suffolk Young Producers.

Which brings us to 2017. More artists, more fun, more everything. This time more than 50,000 people came to join us.

We’re proud of VAULT’s past. We’re focused on its present. And we’re looking forward to exploring its future.

The Team

VAULT Festival is produced by the Heritage Arts Company.

Festival Directors – Mat Burt, Andy George & Tim Wilson
Associate Director – Rosalyn Newbery
Film Festival Curator – Niger Asije

Director of Communications – Mat Burt
Deputy Directors of Communications – Jessica Clarke & Josh Morrall
Director of Production – Andy George
Technical Manager – John Mackinnon
Deputy Technical Manager – Rich Irvine
Accounts & Office Manager – Hannah Falvey
Production Assistant – Ursula Kerswell
Head of Lighting – Paul Walmsley
Deputy Head of Lighting – Sarah Readman
Head of Sound – Daffyd Gough
Deputy Head of Sound – Sean Gallacher
Sound Engineer – Sam Walshe
Festival Technicians – Ryan Beattie & Roshan Conn
Art Director – Thomas Kirk Shannon
Assistant Art Director – Ellen Camilla Rose
FOH & Operations Manager – Rachel Foster
Festival Assistant and Co-FOH Manager – Viviania Bianchini
Buildings & Site Manager – Natasha Kerswell
Venue Stage Managers – Rhea Heath, Carmel Macaree, Amy Taylor, Izzy Tyndall Bristow, Hannah Wallis, Sue Small
Box Office Duty Managers – Freyja Costelloe & Alex Levene
LATES Duty Manager – Sasha Catalano
Bar Manager and Quartermaster – George Calderwood
Head Chef – Martin Shaw
PR – Full Fat |
Marketing – Joe Public |

Our Supporters

VAULT Festival is proud to be supported by a variety of partners.