Advertisement

Interview with the directors of VAULT Festival

18 January 2014 | Krupa Savjani

"If it's going well, we'll be in the bar. If it's going badly, we'll be in the bar."

Ahead of the 2014 VAULT Festival of theatre, music and performance deep beneath Waterloo Station, we caught up with festival directors Tim Wilson and Mat Burt...

London Calling: After the great success of VAULT in 2012 we’re thrilled to learn of your 6 week return in 2014. We’re promised theatre, live music, debates, discussion and dancing! What inspired you to create such a multi-faceted festival?

Tim Wilson: I think curated is a better way to describe it – the creations of the festival, in it’s sixty different ticketed forms, are made by the finest and most electrifying artists we could find. They’re the inspiration, and that’s what people will come to see. For me, taking up where Shunt and The Old Vic Tunnels left off, in supplying London with underground revelry, is totally thrilling.

Mat Burt: Exactly. It wasn't so much a choice we made but us recognising the diversity of applications and kinds of performance-based entertainment there are out there. Our application requirements in terms of style or tone were non-existent; this is the result of throwing the doors wide.

LC: London is somewhat of a cultural hub, with cinemas on rooftops and pop up events for everything from painting mugs to Rocky Horror Show karaoke sessions; the sheer variety of entertainment available is sometimes overwhelming.  Why should audiences favour VAULT over other events that are taking place in the city?

TW: Sure, there’s variety – but none, just none, that offer this range of work, under one roof, in central London, at true fringe prices. It’s unheard of. It’s unique and unmissable. It’s a rabbithole you can get seriously lost in.

MB: With VAULT, audiences not only get great entertainment, they also contribute to a festival that's developed laterally, us in tandem with all the different companies. We're as non hierarchical as we can possibly be; the goal is to provide a broad platform and a space for creatives to offer everything they've got without getting swallowed by the money machines - we think that model's worth supporting alone.

LC: How do you go about finding and selecting the talent that is showcased?

TW: In the same way you always chronically over-order when you go to a good tapas restaurant.

MB: We had massive vats of applications. We had to turn down some brilliant looking stuff. Really we were looking for a broad programme and those companies and individuals who grasped the point of the festival: that we can all do ourselves a favour by working together and pooling resources.

LC: Of all of the talented artists taking part, are there any in particular that we should be taking note of and looking out for?

TW: Don’t miss Joe Hufton & Dominic Allen's ‘The Bridge that Tom Built’. Also you can’t go wrong with Kansas Smitty’s, the hottest New Orleans eight-piece in town. Check out their Fat Tuesday party.

MB: Too many to say. Obviously we'll recommend our own shows - Fear & Loathing and The Cement Garden - but in truth we don't think there's a weak link in the chain. I personally can't wait to see Richard Marsh's new show.

LC: If there are any budding London Calling readers that would like to get involved in the next festival, how would they go about getting in touch?

TW: Come to it this year or there won’t be a next festival! Mat and I will be there the whole time and you just have to ask for us.

MB: If it's going well, we'll be in the bar. If it's going badly, we'll be in the bar.

LC: We’ve seen great use of the Old Vic Tunnels through a string of Heritage Arts events, what is it about the tunnels as a venue that keeps you returning to this space?

TW: It’s forbidden territory. It’s under one of the great lungs of London, like a secret chamber. You feel naughty just by being there. What’s not to like?

MB: Worth noting that it's not the Old Vic Tunnels; The Vaults is a separate space which got its name after our first festival. And it's exciting seeing the ideas bubble out of artist's brains as they glimpse the spaces for the first time - the possibilities make proscenium arch theatre seem small-time.

LC: Which audiences would you say VAULT is aimed at?

TW: Vault is for anyone - anyone with an appetite for the new, anyone with a streak of independence, anyone with a yen for late nights and great music.

MB: It's for people who want to actively support artistic endeavours while actually enjoying themselves. Anywhere that can offer both is a win in my book.

LC: Looking ahead, post VAULT, what’s next on the cards for the Heritage Arts Company?

TW: Can we answer obliquely? Time travel. Barreras.

MB: Barbados.

VAULT Festival runs 28 January – 8 March 2014 at the Leake Street Tunnels in Waterloo. For full programme listings and tickets, visit: www.thevaultfestival.com

Advertisement

Most popular

What to See at The Cinema
What to See at The Cinema
Advertisement
Top Theatre of the Week in London
Top Theatre of the Week in London
Advertisement
Top Exhibitions of the Week in London
Top Exhibitions of the Week in London
Advertisement
A Guide to the Best Lidos in London
A Guide to the Best Lidos in London
Top 5 Vegan Sausage Rolls in London
Top 5 Vegan Sausage Rolls in London
Top Gigs of the Week in London
Top Gigs of the Week in London

Your inbox deserves a little culture! Get our monthly newsletter

Advertisement