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 gal