VAULT Festival marked the end of its decade-long run at its original venue, The Vaults on Sunday 19th March, bringing to a close a record-breaking year which welcomed more than 81,000 audience members throughout its eight week run. The 2023 festival saw more than 4,000 independent artists perform 1,860 individual performances of 553 shows in 11 unique venues throughout Waterloo and South Bank, and featured 271 world premieres and 94 professional debuts, highlighting the colossal loss to the creative industries and audiences if VAULT Festival were unable to return for 2024 and beyond.
To round off the 2023 Festival, the VAULT Festival Awards Ceremony recognised the incredible body of work at VAULT Festival this year, celebrating exceptional shows and outstanding contributions from artists. 22 winners were announced from 100 nominees across a range of categories, showcasing a vibrant and varied festival. Full awards listings can be found below.
Alongside the VAULT Festival Awards Ceremony, 2023 also saw a record-breaking number of award nominations for the Offie Awards. Nominations for Best Performance Piece included Scratches from Plain Heroines, I was a German by Clare Fraenkel, The Long Run from Katie Arnstein and Bec Martin and NO I.D. by Tatenda Shamiso. The IDEA Awards nominated Fruits, or the Decline of a Distant Memory and Hildegard Von Bingen for Lighting Design, HIGH STEAKS and Belinda for Experimental Theatre, It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure for Devised or Physical Theatre and the Access Award, Liv Ello: Swarm and YOU ARE GOING TO DIE for Devised or Physical Theatre, The Learning Lottery for Immersive Theatre and Clown Sex for Natasha Sutton Williams’ Performance.
The inaugural VAULT Festival OffFest Awards also celebrated the work of artists across the festival who would not be eligible in other categories, with nominees A Manchester Anthem, Bloody Mary: Live!, Borders, BUFF, Butchered, Gay Witch Sex Cult, How We Begin, In Clay, Post
Sex Spagbol, Siapa Yang Bawa, Melayu Aku Pergi?, The Ballerina, The Silver Bell, Thirsty and Wasteman.
After surviving three years of cancellations and postponements, and without any core public funding, VAULT Festival 2023 was able to bring joy and creativity to tens of thousands of people for eight weeks during the dark winter months. The future of VAULT Festival remains in jeopardy – only with the continued support of artists, audiences, sponsors, partners, and individuals, will VAULT Festival be able to survive and open its doors once again.
Show of the Week
Week One: HIGH STEAKS by ELOINA
Week Two: A Manchester Anthem by Lyle Productions and ramblemill
Week Three: Death Suits You by Sam Hooper
Week Four: Hear Me Now by Burnt Orange Theatre
Week Five: It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure by FlawBored
Week Six: No I.D. by Tatenda Shamiso
Week Seven: ReMythed by Roann Hassani-McCloskey
Week Eight: Good Grief by Ugly Bucket Theatre
Week One: The Lamb Disagrees by Eratle Wang
Week Two: Walking Cats by Zhaolin Zhou
Week Three: I Fucked You In My Spaceship by Louis Emmitt-Stern
Week Four: Katherine and Pierre by TalkSmall
Week Five: Dark Matter by Tatenda Naomi Matsvai
Week Six: Batman (aka Naomi’s Death Show) by Little But Fierce
Week Seven: Sacrifice by Tina Tieno
Week Eight: PUBLIC The Musical by Stroud & Notes
People’s Choice Award
Someone of Significance by Network Theatre
Artists’ Choice Award
Project Atom Boi by Ensemble Not Found
Festival Spirit Award
Definitely, Maybe, Actually Nevermind by The Haus of Bollix
Theatre of Gulags by Anya Ostrovskaia
After Dark Award
Narcissus by Ruby Wednesday
Comedy Breakthrough Award
Thanyia Moore: August by Thanyia Moore