Delve underground and you'll find experimental and immersive work in a party atmosphere
Waterloo's Leake Street is a dank hide out for aerosol-wielding graffiti artists, who cover the walls of this old railway passage with layer on layer of technicoloured designs. Make it through the painty fug and you'll discover The Vaults, a surprisingly huge arts venue hidden behind an unassuming door.
The Vaults is at its busiest each February and March, when hundreds of new shows take over this ramshackle collection of theatre spaces and bars, under the umbrella of Vault Festival. You'll find autobiographical solo shows, interactive adventures and installations, new plays, themed parties and hordes of tipsy theatregoers settling into the venue's many whimsically decorated bar spaces, which come alive with late night weekend events.
But there are plenty of reasons to venture to The Vaults at warmer times of year. It's become the go-to venue for ambitious immersive shows, most notably the venue's big 2015 hit 'Alice's Adventures Underground'. And it also holds dining theatre experiences a-plenty, jazz nights, gigs, and nights out which make the most of the venue's brick-walled, cavernous atmosphere.
The Vaults came into life in 2013 with its first event, a full album play of a Daft Punk album. It took over the space formerly known as The Old Vic Tunnels, which from 2009-2013 held an impressive array of pop-up theatre shows under the auspices of the theatre down the road. Today, it's got one permanent 160-seater auditorium, The Vault Theatre, plus a host more temporary galleries and spaces.
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Bare: A Pop Opera
Likely to appeal to 'Spring Awakening' fans, this sung-through pop musical is all about teen angst in a repressive boarding school, overseen by nuns. It follows two catholic schoolboys who fall in love with each other as they rehearse 'Romeo and Juliet',...Musicals Friday June 21 2019 - Sunday August 4 2019
Black is the Color of My Voice
Singing legend Nina Simone is the inspiration behind this play with music, which is a story of a jazz chanteuse seeking justice in Civil Rights-era America. It's written and performed by Apphia Campbell, who's toured the show worldwide, landing plaudits...Musicals Thursday June 27 2019 - Saturday July 13 2019
The Falcon's Malteaser
A box of malty chocolates sets off a thrilling chain of events in Anthony Horowitz's detective novel for kids, 'The Falcon's Malteser'. It's being staged at The Vaults this summer by New Old Friends, who'll use four actors to create a high-octane story...Children's Wednesday July 17 2019 - Sunday August 25 2019
The Permanent Way
David Hare's verbatim drama about the privatisation of the railways first steamed into London in 2003. 'The Permanent Way' shows how the 1993 Privatisation Act paved the way for disasters like the Potters Bar crash, through the perspectives of passengers,...Drama Friday September 13 2019 - Sunday November 17 2019
Step into a gothic fairytale with this decadent immersive show from Shotgun Carousel, the makers of 'Divine Proportions'. Grimm heroines Snow White, Red Riding Hood and Beauty (of 'and the Beast' fame) will be in appearance, alongside glamorous turns...Interactive Tuesday September 24 2019 - Sunday January 12 2020
Average User Rating
4.2 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:12
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Amazing immersive experience at The Vaults, I went last month for The Cahoots 40's take over and was really blown away, it is such a great space that can be transformed based on the event. Your really felt as if you were stepping back in time and as the event included food and unlimited drinks it was well worth the ticket price of £60 that included two live acts. If you see an event there that interests you definitely go for it!
My only experience with The Vaults was for Goosebumps Alive, which was an immersive theatre production themed arround the 90s cult horror/comedy fictional book series. I was extremely impressed with the venue, it's very large and evidentally adaptable accommodatign to a variety of events and popups. The set design when I went was honestly breathtaking, but can't help felling it seemed a shame with the hard work that must have gone in it can't be more permanent - although I do welcome new experiences here. I will definitely look out for other things happening here in future, I've heard of Alice's Adventures Underground which might be worth a try.
The only slight hiccup was having never been been to here before I found it a little difficult to locate, even with the "help" of Google Maps (which actually seemed to make things more difficult) meaning we didn't arrive the recommended 15 minutes before showtime
but were bang on 9pm, despite this we missed the introductory
performance which was a shame but in no way ruined our visit.
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