We want VAULT Festival to be a safe, sustainable, and welcoming space. We’ve created these policies for staff, visiting artists and audiences to make it clear what we mean.
VAULT Creative Arts is committed to ensuring our Artists, Audiences, Staff and our Collaborators feel welcome, supported and inspired, whilst engaging with, and visiting the festival.
It’s important to recognise that VAULT Creative Arts is built by, and for, many people from different backgrounds.
Therefore, in everything we do we’ll keep the following commitments in mind, and we will continue to encourage all of our participants groups to support us in doing so as well.
VAULT Creative Arts will follow the following principles and we politely ask that our Visiting Companies, Staff and Collaborators:
VAULT Creative Arts should be a place where everyone feels welcome to tell their stories and for us collectively, to change our world for the better. We recognise that racism exists, in society as well as within the arts and cultural sector, and are committed to be part of implementing long lasting change. We acknowledge the intersectional nature of racism. We will not tolerate racism is any form, and are committed to being an anti-racist organisation.
Our Commitment to our Staff:
Our Commitment to our Artists & Audiences:
Our Anti-Racism Action Plan
We are working with our Board of Trustees to implement the following actions:
VAULT Creative Arts is committed to and actively working towards an environmentally sustainable industry. We understand that the event we manage has an environmental, social, and economic impact. Therefore, we’re committed to the development, implementation and continual improvement of a sustainable event management system to minimise any negative impacts of our operations. Therefore, we’ve made steps this year to further improve our commitment to sustainability and we have outlined below how you can do the same.
What do VAULT Creative Arts do?
What do we ask our Staff to do?
What do we ask our Artists to do?
What do we ask our Audiences to do?
VAULT Creative Arts recognises the importance of ensuring all aspects of the charities operations are accessible to those that have access requirements.
We are committed to continuing to develop our access provisions over the coming years in collaboration with our staff, artists and audiences.
VAULT Creative Arts aims to foster an environment that supports staff members with disabilities to thrive in their role. In order to do this, we are able to accommodate reasonable adjustments to a role and its way of working wherever we can to enable this to happen.
When completing the new starter form, staff members are asked to disclose any reason why they might need reasonable adjustments to be considered in order for them to perform their role. If any access requirements are disclosed, this will be discussed with the General Manager.
We are also committed to providing training to our staff, both full time and freelance, on accessibility within the workplace, and within the arts and cultural sector. This training in previous years has included partnership with Mencap, a learning disability charity, to offer our staff an awareness training session on how to communicate with those who have a learning disability. We hope to continue this partnership and develop others, over the coming years.
In line with our programming policy, we want the work that is programmed at the festival not only to be accessible for audiences, but also for our artists as well.
We aim to embed the theme of accessibility in whatever form that might take as part of our programme.
In our Artist Key Information Pack, we highlight access performance details and points of contact for industry professionals that assist in BSL interpretation, Captioning, Audio Description and guidance on Relaxed Performances.
For audience members, we offer a range of access provisions to ensure that their visit to the festival is the best it can be.
We want to make sure everyone can access the information provided on our website. We are making every effort to ensure that we don’t exclude any users.
For example by:
All of our digital video content will include subtitles and downloadable transcripts.
Encouraging and giving a platform to artists & staff to create exciting, responsive and diverse work is at the heart of VAULT Creative Arts’ purpose.
Ensuring that we are Diverse & Inclusive are some of our core strategic aims, led by the Executive Team, with support from the Board of Trustees. All of our core processes and policies are driven by the aspiration to be an inclusive place of opportunity for all, particularly those who have historically been excluded.
Our mission is to build a team that represents the city and community we work in; encompassing diversity in race, ethnicity, faith, disability, gender, sexuality, class, and economic disadvantage.
Diversity will be a key consideration in artistic and organisational planning in both the short and long term, and all staff are encouraged to take responsibility for furthering the aims defined in this document within their own areas, departments and responsibilities.
Below, we have outlined our guiding principles with regard to diversity & Inclusion within and for our organisation.
The General Manager is responsible for promoting the company’s approach to continually improving all aspects of diversity in regards to both staff and audiences. However it is the responsibility of all managers, staff, and freelancers to ensure this policy is upheld.
Our Guiding Principles
Leadership & Workforce Diversity
Audience Development & Public Engagement
Partnerships and Collaborations
Governance and Board Development
Our goal each year is to create a broad programme which is stylistically and narratively varied, from diverse and underrepresented voices, and which will attract the widest range of audience interests and demographics possible.
We encompass a whole spectrum of different performance styles; including all kinds of theatre, musicals, circus, clowning, comedy, cabaret, burlesque, opera, podcasts, dance, escape rooms, huge parties, and immersive experiences. Everything is welcome.
There are ten broad programming categories to which you can apply. We don’t have quotas for each category, so the one you choose doesn’t affect the likelihood of being programmed, it just helps us get a quick idea of how you (and your audiences) see your production.
The breadth is essential to the continued existence of the Festival, and the programming team aims to keep the Festival’s content creatively fresh and exciting. By doing so, VAULT Creative Arts hopes to provide a continuing series of opportunities for emerging artists and new work, as well as hosting more established voices and productions.
VAULT is a curated festival. This means the programming team explicitly chooses what will and won’t be in the programme. This is an inherently subjective, human-driven process, through which many aspects of a production are taken into account: genre, style, previous experience of the company/artist, primary target audience, similarity to other events in the programme, expected appeal, practical feasibility, and so on – it’s an infinite list of variables, which aren’t weighed up according to any fixed expectations or criteria.
Applications to VAULT Creative Arts are reviewed by our Programming Panel, a team of curators led by our Heads of Programme for Theatre, Comedy & Lates, drawn from the industry and the Festival’s previous participants. We’re not looking for any one thing in particular – there is no sure-fire way to get into the programme.
We want to create an environment where artists are safe to try things out, and develop their voice – whatever that might be.
We champion diversity. We want the festival to represent the voices of London, and of the World. We want to provide a platform for underrepresented stories and people to create and share their work.
VAULT Creative Arts’s a place of collaboration and learning, so we favour ideas with people in mind: in storytelling, in design, in approach. We’re looking to elevate the experience for the audience and participants.
We respect ambition combined with deliverability. Often big ideas are the most exciting, but we need to know you’ve got your feet on the ground, too. If you’ve got huge ambitions, make sure to let us know you’ve considered all the challenges of presenting work at VAULT Creative Arts.
We value entertainment and challenging work equally. We’re lucky to have an engaged, thoughtful audience. Exciting work comes in all forms.
We appreciate VAULT-specific ideas. Whether it’s a brand new production or an existing show re-packaged, we like work which uses VAULT Creative Arts’s unique atmosphere as a strength. We want to know you’ve considered the underground location, the quick turnarounds, the size of the venue & the challenges of the noise from the rumbling trains. If you have to compromise your idea too much to squeeze it into the Festival’s framework, VAULT might not be the right place for it – the show should come first.
We love honesty. Who you are – whether an individual or a team – is vitally important. VAULT Creative Arts doesn’t work without a supportive community, and works best when everyone is honest.
VAULT Creative Arts favours proposals from artists & productions which:
Our core audience demographic are London-based, 25-35 year olds who engage in cultural and experiences. They are often actively engaged on social and online and are actively seeking out fun, exciting, or interesting things to do. We also attract a large amount of artists, makers, and industry folks actively looking to see new and exciting work.
Productions and Artists that are based outside of London (both domestic and international) have had success at VAULT Creative Arts previously, but they have to work harder in order to get an audience as they don’t necessarily have the existing audience to build from. If you are based outside of London, it’s worth considering this before applying and showing that you’ve considered these challenges in your application.
We programme artists with a range of experience; from debut shows through to established artistic entities. We look for evidence that the artist can achieve what they’re laying out in their application. This evidence is best shown in the attachment of scrips, reviews for previous or current shows, photo or video documentation of previous or current shows, websites, trailers, and biogs of the individuals and partners involved in the creative team.
We programme with diversity and representation in mind. We want the stories and voices heard to be varied and representative of as wide a demographic as possible.
VAULT Creative Arts operates on a Box Office split with the companies and importantly allows companies to choose the deal they want according to how confident they feel, or if they want to play it safer. Companies are also not required to pay a deposit or entry fee, and there are no fixed costs (like brochure fees, or registration fees) meaning there’s less money required upfront to secure your slot.
Companies agree to a Minimum Facilities Commitment (MFC) which becomes the minimum the festival will take from the Box Office takings, so Companies may be liable to pay the difference between their Box Office and the MFC if their box office does not exceed it. VAULT Creative Arts takes the split OR the MFC, whichever is the greater (but never both). This means that the Companies have a better chance of money if they do well.
How to Apply
The role of the open application process is to allow artists and companies to let us know what they’d like to offer in an administratively manageable way. It is not the sole method by which the Festival is programmed. Artists/Productions can also be invited to be a part of the Festival outside of the ‘application process’. Productions can be specifically developed for the Festival through collaboration with or invitation by the programming team. The programming team uses a variety of methods, and draws upon their own experiences and networks, to put together a unique festival programme each year.
Due to the large amount of applications we receive, it’s important to make sure applicants are as informed as possible about how the festival works. Please see the Application Guide for full details.
Applications are open mid-June to mid-August for the subsequent festival. Keep an eye on our Social Media channels and website for more information on how to apply and the deadline.
We receive far more applications than can be programmed each year. This means that each year, without exception, we are forced to turn away shows which the programming team likes. It’s not just the obvious limitations of time and space that determine this; in keeping with the goal of creating a broad festival, there are limits on the amount of work of similar themes or styles that we can put into the programme.
VAULT Creative Arts actively recruits team members who are practitioners and participants in the arts community. This means productions will occasionally be programmed which are produced by, or in collaboration with, or feature the work of, members of the VAULT team. Practitioners are not made ineligible for programming by joining the VAULT Creative Arts team.
Mixed Bill Programming
Artists presenting a “Mixed Bill” lineup as part of an Event at VAULT Creative Arts – whether stand up comedy, scratch nights, music, spoken word, drama or panel-based shows- are expected to abide by the general ethos and programming guidelines of the Festival in general.
VAULT Creative Arts is intended to be an inclusive, exciting, community-driven environment presenting a diverse range of art forms and voices. We expect the programming and creative choices of our participants to reflect that.
Mixed Bill Guidelines
Mixed bill events should seek to present a demographically diverse lineup ensuring representation across race and gender is met as a minimum.
The goal is to have a line up that is representative in an intersectional nature and covers a range of demographics and backgrounds.
We ask that you clarify your diversity aims when speaking with the acts you’re booking so they understand what your aims are and can make an informed decision on their involvement.
Booking of Acts
For fairness (and also to give your ticket sales the best chance possible), we ask that acts don’t do more than one mixed bill night per week at VAULT Creative Arts. So please check this with the acts when you approach them.
Performers & participants should be paid or compensated fairly and equally. We appreciate that all events have different income levels and break-even points, so there is no fixed-fee guideline, but we expect producers to make an effort to extend the opportunity they have been given to the artists involved in their event.
If the event is a charity fundraiser, the act can choose to waive this payment but this should be agreed in advance of the gig.
Inviting VAULT Staff to Performances
Wherever possible, the VAULT Creative Arts programming team aims to respond to invites from creatives and producers whom are presenting their show. We ask all those who would like to send us an invitation to email [email protected] for further details.
Due to the size of the programming team and organisation, unfortunately it is not possible for a representative of VAULT Creative Arts programming to attend every performance they are invited to. If we are able to come, we’ll let you know as soon as we can so that we can arrange tickets in advance.
After you perform at the festival or take part in a project with us, we will send the main contact of the show/event a feedback survey. This feedback submitted to us about artists’ experiences is really important to help us review what we are doing well, and ideas on where we can improve our processes for the future.
Whilst we want every artist’s experience at the festival to be great, we recognise that sometimes we might get it wrong or things need to be improved. If you feel unhappy about a situation, please contact the Programming Team in the first instance to talk this through by emailing [email protected].
If this doesn’t resolve your concerns, we have a formal complaints procedure which can be read as part of our Complaints handling policy here.
You can read our full Terms & Conditions here.