Today's full programme, more choices & comment


TALK PROPA is a celebration of all things northern. <br/>Sick of the endless presentations of northern women as the clown, ‘chav’ or someone that lives such a dire life in the grim darkness that is The North™, that they must escape and move to the wonderful South... TALK PROPA is a truly northern f*ck you to the southern elite. <br/>Two women from across the north of England explore their relationship with their accents and the prejudice they’ve faced as a result. Featuring music from the one and only Cheryl, queen of the North, these lasses take on the stereotypes they are constantly reduced to (with a cuppa tea in hand of course). <br/>Southerners, buckle up. <br/>Through comedy, direct address and experimental video and sound design, TALK PROPA radically deconstructs the concept of a ‘generic northern accent’. A spotlight on the intersection of class, accent and gender prejudice against northern women on stage.<br/>Don’t be mardy - see yah there, pet.<br/>Talk Propa is supported by The CULTIVATE Bursary, in Association with COMMON and the Newbury Corn Exchange.

The 4th Country Plain Heroines

Misunderstood, neglected and under-reported, Northern Ireland is just across the water but feels a million miles away.<br/>Set in contemporary Northern Ireland, The 4th Country looks at the ways in which global political decisions impact the lives of ordinary people. Most of the stories that inspired The 4th Country only earned a single article in the British press. As old wounds heal, and new ones open, we see the extraordinary changes facing Northern Ireland through the lives of ordinary people.

Coming Out Of My Cage (And I’ve Been Doing Just Fine) Shepard Tone

4 stars As a concept, it could be madness or genius: an hour-long celebration of Mr Brightside, the monotonic song with the driving beat that might just rank as the nation’s favourite earworm. It’s a funny, self-aware and ultimately touching tribute, dressed up as a podcast-style investigation. But you needn’t need to be a Killers fan to appreciate it, for this is a universal celebration - a salute to bittersweet memories and to experiences shared. Read the full review.

The song ‘Mr Brightside’ hasn't left the UK charts in 16 years. How did it end up like this? It was only a hit, it was only a hit. <br/>Tim and Hannah come across a viral video of an Irish bar singing ‘Mr Brightside’ to their recently departed friend. Reading online comments they uncover a series of stories of incredible people who are all celebrated by those around them - all united by one song. Tim, Hannah and the audience conduct an investigation into the chart-busting phenomena, taking them from that small Irish bar to a karaoke booth in Nevada and back to an English Students Union bathroom. Combining karaoke and fun audience interactions with on-stage explorations into how this song touched the world and became an anthem for millions and giving you an unashamedly good night out in the process.

[The Cobbled Streets of Geneva] Ellandar Productions & 45 North

3 stars A man stands outside a mosque. The imam brings him a cup of tea. A friendship is born. [The Cobbled Streets of Geneva] follows the developing interactions between the reserved, uncertain Adham and the assertively accepting Raushan, as they travel through Switzerland - a trip that gradually reveals their true feelings through the deception they present to the world. Read the full review.

A queer British-Muslim romantic comedy. <br/>Adham is a silent and brooding middle-aged tragedy, standing outside a Mosque in North London. Waiting. It’s raining. Tea, an umbrella, and friendship arrive.<br/>Two years later Adham’s boss invites him on holiday to “set him up”. Panic-stricken and wanting to bat away her advances he fabricates a husband, but when the plan backfires he’s got to convince someone to act the part... Who best but his Imam and absolutely platonic friend Raushan? The rest is what you’d expect: a call to adventure in the Alps, a quarrel, and a sweet queer love story that ends in gardening gloves. <br/>Nemo Martin’s [The Cobbled Streets of Geneva] is a warm queer romantic comedy about how role-playing new lives might bring us closer to who we really are. <br/>Praise:<br/>“It is a gentling of story, a caretaking of truths that invites revelation, and the result is utterly beautiful.” - Jenifer Toksvig.

The Gypsy Flame Yagori Gypsy Dance Company

Discover the story of a thousand years’ journey.<br/>A fire burns bright within the souls of a hundred generations. What happens when this fire is always drawing you down the road? Where does this fire in your soul lead you?<br/>A history full of drama and tragedy, the Romani people have travelled for thousands of years. Fuelled by the fire of hope, they travelled across the world, learning and leaving elements of their music, dance, and culture wherever they went. <br/>A captivating story full of fiery dance and explosive music await you as Yagori leads you on a journey to unveil the rich culture of the Romani people throughout time. Will the spirit of fire call to you?

Lulu Popplewell (Work in Progress) Lulu Popplewell

This is a work in progress stand up show about control, manipulation and - somehow - threesomes. There will be games! There will be eels! There will be a hefty number of silly jokes! Lulu has is a Chortle Student Comedy award finalist, described by Marbles Magazine as ‘scorching, charismatic and refreshingly free’. Fancy having your tarot read by a trainee therapist? Then this is the show for you. Fancy winning it big in deal or no deal? Tough luck, there’s none of that here.

Heidi Regan: Heidi In Plain Sight (Work in Progress) Heidi Regan

Heidi Regan gives her always surreal take on daily worries, the future and whether she and her girlfriend will have a baby. She is trying to be even more honest and simultaneously more silly in this show as she thinks the world has become unhelpfully terrifying.

Ask Me Anything The Paper Birds

Ask Me Anything
Created & Presented by The Paper Birds
Co-Produced with Live Theatre
Music by Rosie Doonan<br/>A loud, live, love song, to not having it all figured out.<br/>We asked young people, living in today’s world of mobile phones and google, to write to us and ask us anything. Nothing was off limits. We received over 100 letters from young people across the UK. This show is our reply.<br/>Inspired by the magazine problem pages we read growing up in the 90s and 00s (anyone remember Smash Hits?!), in Ask Me Anything The Paper Birds become the agony aunts. The show explores what young people think, want and worry about today and what different generations can learn from each other.<br/>Ask Me Anything is a new, immersive theatrical experience, from multi-award winners The Paper Birds, whose previous shows include Mobile, Thirsty and In a Thousand Pieces.<br/>Set in our teenage 90s and 00s bedrooms, Ask Me Anything features cutting edge digital artistry, The Paper Birds' unique brand of mischief and mayhem, and original live music from celebrated singer-songwriter Rosie Doonan.<br/>This is a show for teenagers, parents, grandparents, and everyone in between, who, like us, are still figuring it all out. <br/>So, take off your shoes, pull up a cushion, and come on in.

Tinted Scripped Up

Tinted is a revolutionary disabled response to the #metoo hashtag. Staged as accessibly as possible and written by disabled playwright Amy Bethan Evans (Libby's Eyes, BBC Access Room, Kudos Fellowship shortlist and producer of Access Platform) Tinted is the debut full-length monologue from Scripped Up, championing D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers.

Minority Report The Free Association

This is Minority Report, a group made up exclusively of BAME players! Join them
for an hour of uproarious improv, also featuring special guest comedians. <br/>Minority Report are: Ishan Ganjoor, Ambika Mod, Amille Jampa Ngoen, Hari Kanth, Jed Kass,
Fahad Bandar, Jamal Khadar and Kiran Benawra<br/>This show is one of a series of hit improv shows presented by The Free Association in a two-week VAULT takeover. Other shows include Jacuzii, SORRY, The Nearly News Show, The Badge: An Improvised Cop Show, The Nearly News Show, Starry Starry Eyes, RAD Party, Important Art, and LGBTQFA. Book two for £15 or three for £20 as part of The Free Association Package Deal.

Sticky Door Katie Arnstein

From the multi-award-winning team that bought you the "exquisite" (The List) Sexy Lamp and Bicycles and Fish... <br/>“The 2014 plan was a simple one, I would “Casanova” myself around our nation's capital looking for consenting heterosexual adult males. One no-frills lover-man for every month. I was the original calendar girl. Helen Mirren plays me in the film.” <br/>In 2014 Katie was very sexually active. She was also extremely depressed. Join her as she examines whether the two things are connected. <br/>A storytelling show with songs about sex, stigma and cystitis. <br/>Sticky Door is the third part in Katie Arnstein’s It’s a Girl! trilogy. <br/>Catch Katie's other shows at VAULT 2020 as she presents three shows together for the first time on 16th February. Three. Because that's how trilogies work.<br/><br/>Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Also supported by Pleasance Futures and Redbridge Drama Centre.

The First Barry McStay

- "What do you think they’ll say?"
- "Whatever it is, it’ll all be wrong."
- "Maybe. We’re the most famous people alive right now."
- "Right now. Yes."<br/>A spacecraft approaches Mars. They are The First.
Back on Earth, two writers compose two speeches. One if the mission succeeds. And another...<br/>When things start to go wrong aboard just days away from the Red Planet, astronauts Rose and Simeon are faced with the prospect of being more alone than any two humans in history.
Meanwhile, experienced political hack Marcus and celebrated screenwriter Aisha must find the words to summarise a feat bigger than words, and a disaster that may never happen.<br/>From writer Barry McStay (Vespertilio - Show of the Week, VAULT 2019) and directed by x2 FRINGE FIRST Winner Emily Jenkins (Bobby And Amy - also won Show of the Week, VAULT 2019). THE FIRST is a new play about tragedy, heroism and imperfection.<br/>Praise for Barry McStay
Lyn Gardner, StageDoor - "This is such a pleasure"
The Irish Times - "Wistfully charming...effortlessly engaging"<br/>Praise for Emily Jenkins
The Stage - "She directs the show almost like a ballet, with lithe and tireless physicality from the two superb performers Will Howard and Kimberley Jarvis"
Fest Mag - "The raw simplicity of the staging of writer and director Emily Jenkins' play allows the breadth of feeling and imagery to breathe and come to life"

Alex Edelman: Just For Us Alex Edelman

Bostonian comedian. Jew. Sweetheart. <br/>Alex Edelman’s first show, Millennial – about very traumatic stock photos and young people - won an Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer, the first show by an American to do so since 1997. The follow-up, Everything Handed to You - about identity and the availability of plug sockets in airports - was even more acclaimed: selling out its entire Edinburgh run and garnering the second-best reviews of any comedy show at the Festival. It was also filmed in its entirety for a special called Live at the BBC, which is currently available on Netflix.<br/>Just For Us is what comes next. Nominated for the Barry award at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, earning the prestigious Herald Angel award as well as being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Show, it’s about gorillas that can-do sign language and tribalism. Come.

Salmon Eve and Sea Productions

Set in a small Scottish town, where a lack of prospects leaves the young people looking for more, Salmon follows Angus and his self-destruction in the aftermath of his dog's death. <br/>As Angus struggles between the weekend raves and weekday restlessness, we are swept along into a world where dogs run security businesses, flies talk, and nothing is quite what it seems.<br/>As Angus spirals to breaking point, Salmon explores the lack of purpose felt by so many young people, their inability to admit or express this sense of futility and the abuse of drugs to escape the emptiness. Devoid of prospects, Angus fixates on the salmon’s innate objective in life, as his family and friends attempt to understand what is going on inside his head. <br/>Blending spoken word, an original score and surrealism, Eve and Sea Production’s powerful show unsettles and disrupts; confronting its audience with an exposing commentary on male mental health, drug abuse and the disillusionment of youth in the 21st century.

Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands Papercut Theatre

"You think you're the only person that's ever felt like this? What makes you so special?<br/>Lou has a problem.
Lou is a problem.
She's moody. Impulsive. Unstable. A pain in the arse.
Her mental illness won't fit into an inspirational story of redemption. She doesn't eat enough kale. She doesn't do enough yoga.
Why can't she just be happy?<br/>When an act of desperation brings her into conflict with her family and friends, Lou starts to wonder where her mental illness ends and she begins. Played by an inclusive and eclectic ensemble of actors, Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands follows Lou as she tries to make sense of her condition and her place in the world.<br/>Melissa Dunne's inky black comedy explores mental health in a world that prefers easy answers to uncomfortable truths. Included in Lyn Gardner's 'Top Picks of VAULT Festival'.<br/>Produced by Papercut Theatre who brought the acclaimed Lola and Dangerous Lenses to Vault Festival 2019.

Sunil Patel (Work in Progress) Sunil Patel

Look, to cut a long story short, I hadn't got round to telling my mum I'm a comedian, and I was going to but then some mystery snitch told her I was on TV somewhere and I had to come clean to her, and honestly guys, she could not care less and just wanted to make sure I had enough pants and socks. So that's where we're at in November 2019. I absolutely maintain it's a completely normal thing to be in a career for 8 years and not inform your mother. Also who was this mystery snitch and does he deserve stitches? Vote now.

Jack Barry (Work in Progress) Jack Barry

Your friend, comedian Jack Barry welcomes some beautiful new joke babies into the world. Come and witness the miracle of new material. He's not shit, he's been on the Russell Howard Hour (Sky One), Catastrophe (Channel 4) and Cuckoo (BBC). Writer for Mock The Week, support for comedians like Marc Maron, Joe Lycett and James Acaster
"The finest of British comedy...effortlessly endearing." ***** EdFest Magazine
"Surf on a sea of laughter." **** The List
**** Sunday Times
**** The Skinny