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The Vaults

Art, Arts centres Waterloo
4 out of 5 stars
(19user reviews)
The Vaults

Time Out says

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. 


The Vaults says
The Vaults is an arts platform for the bold, the fresh and the fearless. Our mission is to collaborate and conspire, feed your curiosity and open your mind. Let The Vaults’ maze of underground tunnels swallow you whole.



Address: Leake St
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
Price: Prices vary
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 11am-7pm
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  • Drama Tuesday January 28 2020 - Sunday February 2 2020
  • Drama Tuesday January 28 2020 - Sunday February 2 2020
  • Sketch shows Tuesday February 25 2020 - Thursday February 27 2020
  • Experimental Saturday February 29 2020 - Sunday March 1 2020
  • Performances Saturday February 29 2020
  • Experimental Friday March 13 2020 - Sunday March 15 2020

Users say (19)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

This venue is so versatile! The most recent event attended here has been the pop-up Christmas cinema: Tinsel and Flix. Over the holiday period, the cinema is showing some of our favourite Chistmas films. Unfortunately the execution was charmingly clumsy - some of the seating is held together with duct tape, there are holes in the walls so the room wasn't particularly warm and sadly no cozy blankets provided (so wear layers!), the cocktails although nice hadn't been made before by the bartenders, so service for food and drink was very slow; and when our film was paused for a short break, the ushers had to then fast forward the film back to where we left off. These issues were made up for by our cute film and by the friendly staff running it. Overall it was a nice experience, just needs some refining.


Hosting such varied and unique events, this venue is one of my favourites for theatre - especially the immersive kind! 


Revolution, produced by Exit Productions, is one of the main shows at this years Vaults Festival - and my is it a goodun. Running from 24th January to 18th March and occupying Unit 9 at the end of Leake Street the experience combines immersive theatre and gaming in the ultimate interactive strategy game where the audience act as protagonists during an uprising of London boroughs against the government.

On arrival you are taken to an underground arch - the stronghold for the 3 united factions of the revolution. You are asked a question, split in to teams dependant on your answer and from there the game begins. It is somewhere in between Risk, Settlers of Catan and Monopoly where the audience must make tactical decisions on which the future of the revolution depends. The aim of the game is to overthrow the government then lead London by outmanoeuvrering the other teams on a giant map of London split in to Boroughs.

A fast paced, clever game which involves teamwork and tactics!

"Ideologies must be compromised. Competition must be crushed. The people must be led."


A cool and quirky venue close to London's Waterloo station. The mix of graffiti and neon lights gives the tunnels a modern-day Alice in Wonderland feel. Once inside the venue there was a bit of a damp smell (as to be expected of this kind of underground venue) but it didn't feel damp, and was plenty warm enough for me to take my coat off. Such a clever use of space.


A place where it's always good to get lost.

I've been to the Vaults a few times, but this venue never fails to surprise me. Every time is a new opportunity to explore something familiar and different at the same time.

One of my life's most memorable theatre experience was Alice's Adventures Underground by the Les Enfants Terribles. My mind was blown away by the costumes, the story, the efficiency how they managed to move about a hundred people. And of course the location was perfect. We walked around so much, I totally felt lost and really in Wonderland. 

The Vault Festival was a great experience as well with great selection of fringe theatre procudtions. Everybody could find someting worthy to watch.

A few weeks ago Wahaca's contribution with Morning Gloryville's Day of the Dead party found the perfect location again in the Vaults. It felt like a catacomb, the pople costumes made the vibe even more special and the pop-up memorial ground took my breath away. I hope MG can organise more raves here (wink,wink).

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! 


I like the way you enter the Vaults, through this intriguing tunnel. It once used to be a car wash and is now a street art paradise. The Vaults is this interesting place under the train tracks that has been reshaped into a club and a theatre. I can't say much about the club but I can tell a bit more about the theatre. I went to see King Kong, a play for summer. I didn't expect much from it, as the critics were not too good. However, it was such a delight to be in this small place, so close to the stage and the actors. I am not a big fan of musicals, but I love that type of theatre plays. The actors were fantastic, the props were really creative and despite a pretty quiet audience, I had a really good laugh. A great discovery in a surprising place.


Absolutely mesmerising and immersive from the moment you step in!

I watched King Kong here and it was a real treat being at this venue. It was transformed into a magical wonderland (Alice's Adventure's underground is playing here) and a full bar, comfy seats as well as amazing chips with all the trimmings. 

Street Food meets theatre absolutely delightful!

Excited to see what's on their calendar - they do music, shows, taste experiences... really pushing the boundaries in terms of art and culture for the modern city slickers :)


Famous art-hub just next to Waterloo station. Massive several vaults spaces that are hosting art excibitions, immersive theatres, screenings, as well as short term fringe plays. During February-March, there is the Vaults Festival taking place here with several fringe plays every day along the festival. Just outside of the Vaults space, you will catch the so-many-times instagrammed full-of-graffitis "Leake Street".


I love the vaults! This venue is just so unique and grand, a perfect setting for interactive theatre productions and parties. I went to Goosebumps Alive and the closing party- very different events, but both suitably exploited the expansive tunnels with epic light displays and props. I definitely would recommend attending any event that's hosted here, it's one of a kind! 


This is a fantastic Venue for parties, underground, artsy, queer, unusual. I've been there for The Great Gatsby night, which has been organised wonderfully, with Charleston crash course, dance exhibitions, and great music until 3am. There are a few bars around so you don't have to queue too much to get a drink. Plus, it's only a few minutes walk from Waterloo Station with 24 hour tube service on Friday and Saturday nights, which helps a lot when you have a big night out :)


Just saw an amazing show at The Vaults, 'Still Waiting' crew for Calais. This was part of the Vault Festival, showcasing the talent of a trio confronting world issues today such as the Calais refugee crisis. The Vaults was a great venue, located underneath Waterloo station you can hear trains zooming overhead which adds emotion and drama instead of noise to the performances. I highly recommend going to Vaults Festival as it showcases such a variety of talents,in a secret space full of emotion and ambience. I cant wait till my next performance in the Vaults.  


What a venue! My friends and I went along to the new season opening of The Vaults on Friday night. I have never been before so wasn't quite sure what to expect. I guess i'd be pretty accurate to describe it as "East London edgy" - the entrance is found on the street infamous for the talented graffiti art that lines the walls. It's all a bit too Instagram convenient as you wait in the queue to get in. 

There are plenty of rooms on offer to explore, with plenty of bars available for you to grab a drink, though it is ridiculously expensive - I don't like paying over £7 for a G&T served to me in a plastic disposable cup, the kind you get at kids parties. It reeks of being ripped off.

The music is good. There is a lot of glitter. Or at least, there was meant to be. That was what was on offer for the launch party but all the glitter artists had gone by 1am... a shame they didn't stay for the whole thing as they were advertised. There were drag queens performing on stage, DJs all night, plenty of dancing to be done. My friends and I had a great time, considering we aren't the club going types.


The Vaults is a great space and even before I reached the venue I was greeted by some of the best street art in London. The season opening night of The Vaults was fantastic with a wild, fun and slightly student union feel to it. The main dance area had a fantastic vibe with amazing over the top comperes and DJ allowing revellers to go through their doors on the stage and have their moment of glory.You could join in the fun and have your face glittered up. There were loads of different rooms to chill in or listen to the music. A fun, fabulous night – where you are still picking out the remains of glitter bombs the next morning.



The vaults are unique and full of adventure, hosting some of the most interesting and bazaar events, every time you go will be new and exciting. 

From theatre shows to an escape room and a booming dance floor, the vaults can be a place for it all. The graffiti tunnel at the entrance is impressive on its own before you've even stepped into the building. 

The vaults is the Alice in wonderland world of London, with constant mad hatters running around. 


I love the Vaults. It has staged some of the most distinctive and unique pieces of immersive theatre I have seen, including Alice's Adventures Underground and Goosebumps Alive

The yearly Vault Festival is equally a highlight and I always make sure I see some of the brilliant fringe productions that feature. 

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.


Discreetly located in the underground tunnels of graffitied Leake street near Waterloo, this is a great little venue that is a must visit if you are after something a little different or if you’re even a little curious. It plays host a wide range of different events, in particular underground cinema! There are always new events, plays and club nights going on so there will always be something for everyone. However being underground it can get a bit claustrophobic for some people as there are no windows and you will get the whiff of a musty damp smell that you would normally expect being underground but this just adds to the whole experience and atmosphere that you will either love or hate.


There once was an awfully dodgy looking tunnel in the not more charming area of Waterloo, covered from floor to ceiling in graffitis (which are actually pretty cool) where you'd expect to meet a few Skins characters. In there was the entrance of the Vaults, a massive arts centre and club. It truely is impressive. My friend and I walked around, trying to push every door we were passing, some granting us entry, some asking us to go back where we came from – for the purpose of this article, let's just pretend the doors did speak to us.

I went there for the Denim Leap Party which was actually not that great (or was it my completely lethargic state talking, I wonder) but it will soon be the stage of Goosebumps, the immersive theatre play! With its endless dark corridors and rooms, I couldn't have imagined a better place for it than this labyrinth of a venue.

It seems to be a place that has a lot of regulars coming to sip coffee, have a couple of cocktails or enjoy the burgers, pizzas and other sausage rolls available.

Pluses: there are SWINGS, the staff is very funny and you can play video games.

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