Applying To VAULT

VAULT is a wide-ranging arts festival which takes place in Waterloo, London annually between January and March. We aim to provide a uniquely fair platform for both established and emerging artists.

Since its inception in 2012, VAULT has successfully created its own momentum through lateral involvement, cooperation and equality.

Applications for VAULT 2019 are not yet open. Applications for each year usually open at the end of June. In the meantime, on the page below, you can find an overview of the Festival model, an explanation of the kind of work we programme, and details of how to stay in touch.

Our Principles

VAULT Festival is built around five principles:

Transparency. Opportunity. Equality. Fairness. Quality.

We apply each one to three groups: our audience, our visiting companies, and our staff, and expect the same in return. We are constantly striving to make the festival better, and every decision is made with our principles in mind.

We create the frame upon which everything else is hung, but it’s the visiting shows which provide the colour, the excitement and the word-of-mouth which gets audiences through the doors, hungry for entertainment, art and challenging viewpoints. If you think you’ve got something which belongs at VAULT, read on: we look forward to hearing from you.


We aim to have a diverse programme of events, encompassing a whole spectrum of different performance styles. In the past we’ve featured all kinds of theatre, circus, clowning, comedy, cabaret, opera, dance, escape rooms, huge parties and immersive games. Everything is welcome.

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. There are three broad programming categories:

Theatre & Performance.

This category encapsulates the majority of programming at VAULT. From goth-rock Euripides to aerialist extravaganzas, most shows fit into this stream, and this is what you should apply for if the more specific categories don’t sound right. Shows are usually programmed in sixty minute slots for one week (six performances).


2017 saw the launch of our Comedy Festival within a festival, which aims to present a host of newcomers and established comedians equally. Comedy shows are usually programmed for one or two nights, be they ‘best of’s, works-in-progress or something in between, though longer runs are possible.


Our Lates events are takeovers which occupy the entire main bar area – and potentially more rooms too. Entirely unique in the programme, LATES events happen on Saturday nights. In the past we’ve hosted multi-band gigs, themed parties and club nights.

Artistic Aims

Applications to VAULT are reviewed by our Selection Panel, a team of individuals drawn from the industry and the Festival.
It’s important to note that we’re not looking for any one thing in particular – there is no sure-fire way to get into the programme and we don’t have strict rules for what’s essential and what’s allowed. The guidelines below tell you a bit about the kind of thing we’re interested in programming.

We favour innovation. In storytelling, in design, in approach – anything. We’re looking for ideas which counteract the stale and seek to elevate the experience for an audience or 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.

We value entertainment and challenging work equally. We’re lucky to have an engaged, thoughtful audience. You don’t have to confront an audience with hard-hitting issues to create worthy work – we love comedy, cabaret and energetic fun, too. Make the work you want.

We appreciate VAULT-specific ideas. Whether it’s a brand new production or an existing show re-packaged, we like work which uses VAULT’s unique atmosphere as a strength. We want to know you’ve considered the underground location, 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 VAULT framework, it might not be the right idea for us.

We love honesty. Who you are – whether an individual or a team – is vitally important. VAULT doesn’t work without a supportive community, and works best when everyone is honest.

The Deal

Please note: while we try and keep the deal broadly similar each year, the notes in this section are based on the 2018 Festival and are subject to change.

VAULT’s financial deal is designed to make things fairer for artists by removing up-front fees from the process. This shares the financial risk between the show and the festival, putting us all on the same side of the table when it comes to bringing in audiences.

Below is a breakdown of 2018’s financial deal. Please be aware that the specifics may change for the 2019 Festival.

What Visiting Companies Keep

70% of the GROSS box office figure (ticket sales). If you are registered for VAT, you’ll have to pay the taxman from this 70% cut. If not, you keep the lot.

What VAULT Keeps

30% of the GROSS box office figure. We pay all the bank charges, commissions & other fees from this share. We also add £1.50 to every ticket, called the Booking Fee, a per-ticket cost paid directly from
audiences to the Festival.

What Visiting Companies Pay

Visiting companies pay nothing up front. Each Venue has a “Rental” cost, based on capacity, between £540 and £1100 per week. VAULT retains this rental cost OR the 30% Box Office split – whichever is higher – not both.

NB: If your total Box Office amount does not meet the Rental figure, we will keep your Box Office receipts and invoice you for the difference. It is important you understand before applying that you can end up owing the Festival money if you do not bring audiences in.

Keep Informed

Applications for each usually usually open in the preceding June.

To make sure you hear about them first, please make sure you’re following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and keep an eye on this website.


While we hope to answer most of your specific questions about the 2019 Festival once we release the Application Guide, if you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: