A month has passed since we closed the doors on a magnificent VAULT Festival 2023 – our first festival since the pandemic and our last ever festival at our original home. It was a record-breaking year for the festival, with more than 81,000 audience members coming to see 553 shows over 1,860 individual performances, presented by more than 4,000 independent artists. It featured 271 world premieres and 94 professional debuts – pretty incredible, right?! After a glorious couple of months in the tunnels, the VAULT team took a short break to rest and regroup, and now we’re back and ready to #SaveVAULT!

We launched #SaveVAULT in February 2023 to help us find a new home, and raise the funds to survive the transition to a new home after more than 11 years. We want to provide updates on our mission, so we’ll be sharing news in a monthly #SaveVAULT blog – welcome to the first edition!

Looking back on VAULT Festival 2023, we are immensely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.

VAULT Festival 2023 was our most accessible, sustainable and inclusive festival to date. We continue to champion artists from underrepresented backgrounds. This year our programme was:

  • 25% Black or African Diaspora led
  • 26% Asian Diaspora led
  • 27% Migrant or Refugee Led
  • 29% disabled led
  • 45% working class led
  • 59% LGBTQIA+ led
  • 65% female led

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what our audiences and artists had to say about VAULT Festival and what it means to them:

“There is quite honestly no other festival like it. This festival embraces the bold, beautiful, zany and downright wacky work. It champions underrepresented voices and platforms stories with unique perspectives. It has a strong audience, ready to listen, learn and engage. I have been a small part of the festival since 2017 but knowing its closing night leaves a big hole in my heart. It is a big ole gorgeous beast with a mammoth amount of shows and a whole lot of love. It’s part of the fabric of fringe culture and we really can’t let it disappear. If you can scream/shout/donate/recommend spaces that could host the future of our theatre, drag, comedy, cabaret, immersive performance scene: please join the campaign.” – Carmel Macaree (@/carrmmmac)

“Last day of VAULT Festival. Being able to put a show on at this festival has changed my life. The support of the team, the inclusive open arms of the space and all its people, the wonderful audiences, and the people I’ve met, I could not be more grateful for VAULT Festival. It’s more important than ever that fringe opportunities like this are here to celebrate the diversity of the theatre scene in this country. That’s what VAULT Festival does.” – KT Miles, Writer – In Good Spirits, VAULT Festival 2023 (@/KTMiles_)

“What a special thing VAULT Festival is. How amazing is it that there’s a space like it for emerging artists to flourish? Compassion, innovation and revolution ooze from its very pores. All of this and more is why it is so critical that the Vaults are saved – I implore you to donate to their fundraiser if you haven’t already! There’s still a little time left, don’t delay! ” – Callum Pardoe (@/cal_pardoe)

So, what’s next for #SaveVAULT?

Thank you so much for your support for #SaveVAULT. Since we launched the campaign, you have shown a huge outpouring of love, and really demonstrated the power of the creative community and the collective voice. Thanks to you, we’re excited to be exploring leads and having conversations with some potential spaces – nothing is confirmed or secured just yet, but watch this space!

However, as it stands, VAULT Festival 2024 and beyond will not happen. We need money in order to survive the next 12 months and transition to a new home. We’ve raised more than £35,000 since launching the campaign, but we need to raise a further £100,000 to keep VAULT Festival alive. If you can, please donate to the campaign, and share our plea with your friends and networks (especially the rich ones!).

Together, we can bring in a new era for VAULT Festival. Thank you for your support.