Today's full programme, more choices & comment

The Nobodies Chalk Line Theatre

When a local hospital announces its closure, panic ensues. <br/>Healthcare Assistant Rhea is forced to look for work elsewhere. Local lad Aaron worries about his mum’s treatment in the cancer unit. And Curtis just isn’t sure where he’s going to sleep. <br/>But when the three witness a horrific accident, a rare opportunity presents itself. <br/>As a dangerous decision triggers a wild chain of events, Rhea, Aaron and Curtis soon find themselves gathering power, influence and infamy – and inspiring a cohort of vigilante activists. <br/>What does it take to enact real change? And what would you sacrifice to keep it?<br/>Following the success of ***** 'Digging Deep' at last year's Vault Festival, Chalk Line present Amy Guyler's new political thriller 'The Nobodies'. 'The Nobodies' is made in collaboration with the multi award winning New Diorama Emerging Graduate Company, Chalk Line Theatre.

Heroes Lilac Yosiphon & Isabel Dixon

"You don't expect some people to die, do you? They just - go on and on."<br/>It's 1991. Bowie's playing an iconic concert in Brixton, and fifteen year old Jamie can't wait. His Dad's bought him gig tickets and Jamie's even stolen the family camera to immortalise the night. But a secret's about to come out - and life will never be the same again. <br/>It's 2016. As Jay gets ready to embrace fatherhood, the arrival of a letter on the
morning of Bowie’s death threatens to bring the ghosts of the past hurtling into the present.<br/>What do we do when the people we look up to do something unforgivable? Do our heroes define who we are? And is it ever too late to start again? <br/>Longlisted for the 2017 Papatango Prize and directed by JMK Award shortlisted director Lilac Yosiphon, Heroes is an exploration of fallen idols, family secrets and the human price of forgiveness.<br/>Presented in association with Althea Theatre and Burn Bright Theatre.

How To Save A Rock Pigfoot Theatre

‘I hear Mother Nature calling, and I don’t know how to face her.
I’ve been having sleepless arctic nights on my two-bedroom glacier... ’<br/>It’s 2026, and Coco’s found a letter from the last ever polar bear. He’s somehow ended up at the top of Scotland. She’s going to save him.
Join us on a wild polar bear chase, through peat bogs and protests. We might just need your help... <br/>How To Save A Rock is a multi award-winning musical comedy about how to still have hope – for kids and adults alike. <br/>This show is carbon-neutral. The lighting is powered by solar-power and a bike cycled live on stage, production materials are recycled and recyclable, and all music is created live.
Winner of: The Sunday Times Playwriting Award (2019) / The Samuel French New Play Award (2019) / The Camden People’s Theatre Award (2019) / And the VAULT Festival 2020 x Staging Change Award.<br/>‘hilarious and touching... as many people as possible should see it’ – Theatre Weekly
“hope is paramount” - The Scotsman

A Pattern of Bad Behaviour Clown Funeral

‘You’re a bad influence’ ‘And you’re a bit... you know... weird’<br/>Two strangers stand in an office car park. They fight. Then they go for dinner.<br/>A funny, twisted story about two people pushing each other. Literally.<br/>Clown Funeral is based in the West Midlands. We make darkly comic shows exploring human corners of inhuman worlds.<br/>Associate Artists of the New Diorama and Pegasus Theatre
Winners of The Clive Barker Award for Performance & The Lord Rootes Memorial Fund
Commended for Best Direction in the NSDF Edinburgh Award 2016

small myth Holly Robinson, Charlotte Fraser & Eve Allin

Before, Katherine climbed Mount Everest.
Now, her daughter dreams of droughts, tsunamis and wildfires. <br/>Katherine left her daughter to conquer a mountain. Her tales of nearly touching the stars became Kate's bedtime stories. Higher, further, beyond. Now it's time for Kate to climb her own mountain. A flight to Nepal will melt 8.7 square meters of Arctic ice, and she's crying in the juice aisle about buying single use plastic. <br/>Blending movement, text & music, this work in progress examines a mother and daughter’s stories unravelling in the face of climate crisis, and what might blossom in their place.

Fanny A New Musichall The Unruly Regiment

Winner of "Show of the Festival" and "Performance of the Festival" at Birmingham Fest 2016<br/>Fanny is rehearsing for her Drury Lane debut during the times of the infamous Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860s. As she works on her songs with Arthur, her long-suffering pianist, it becomes apparent that things are not all as they seem. Fanny tells the funny and tragic story of her friend Elsie using music hall performance to spin her tale.<br/>This is a dark and funny account of a horrifying piece of lost British history. Sing along with classic songs from the Music Hall, then hear them sung again as they've never been heard before. Lizzie Wofford is a "Powerful and emotional performer" and was hailed as "One to watch" by the Evening Standard.<br/>Joining in is warmly encouraged (although not compulsory) and a gin is recommended.


After last year's successful sold-out run of Inside Voices, Lazy Native returns with Bloody Caliph, a double-bill of works that deal with socio-political rot and everyday horrors in society. <br/>In Caliph by Nabilah Said, two women strike an unlikely friendship in a Garden Centre. Within a prosaic setting, ugliness creeps in. The play explores issues surrounding Islamophobia, race relations, female kinship and legacy. An early version of Caliph was read at The Miniaturists: 72 in March 2019 at VAULT. <br/>Bloodstained scandal. Office and family politics. Horror of nostalgia. It feels like a fantastical bedtime story, except it isn’t. Bloody Hotel by Malaysian playwright Ridhwan Saidi is based on several real-life events of unsettling murder cases. <br/>Bloody Caliph is directed by London-based director, producer and storyteller Zhui Ning Chang, who directed the award-winning production, Inside Voices, at VAULT Festival 2019. <br/>Nabilah Said is a Singaporean playwright, poet and theatre critic. Her play Inside Voices won the Origins Award for Outstanding New Work at VAULT Festival 2019, and was published by Nick Hern Books. She is one of the founding members of Lazy Native. Ridhwan Saidi is a Malaysian novelist, playwright and theatremaker. His short plays have been described as ‘politics, sex and religion existing in harmony’ and ‘absurd and weirdly sexy’.

Atlantic emma + pj

On the edge of the coast, there is nothing but horizon. Nothing but horizon, and a figure in the distance. In the distance?—somewhere between you and the possibility of something different.<br/>Emma and PJ are having trouble walking across a room. Perhaps they are lost, or confused, or scared to move forward. Or maybe it’s because they’re in the middle of the ocean. <br/>ATLANTIC is a clown romance about division and drift. Created across Portsmouth and San Francisco, it’s a vintage aquarium fantasia about the tensions between humans and nations. Two people crash into each other, again and again. They push and they pull. The ground echoes with the shifting of tectonic plates. It begins to rain. <br/>This is the debut show of international performance duo emma + pj. It is a love story made out of fragments from two homes by the sea. You might get wet.

Ben Van der Velde: Fablemaker Ben Van der Velde

An improvised comedy adventure with this 'master of audience interaction' (Huffington Post) as he raids the library of his fantastical imagination to create thrillers, romances, ghost stories and more original freewheeling tales that've never been told before and never will be again. 'Wonderfully improvised riffs showcasing his impressive spontaneity and sharp tongue' (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine). 'On flights of fancy, he pushes ideas to extremes and displays a crackling, spontaneous energy in which we’re swept up' (Fest). 'His hit rate is impressive, while his in-the-moment style creates a buzz of excitement in the room' (

Charlie Dinkin: Clowning For Daddy Charlie Dinkin

Charlie wants success, and she'll do anything to get it. An exciting work-in-progress for the debut hour of stand up from a spunky young joke writer (The Now Show, The News Quiz) and reasonably successful comedy director (Olga Koch's 'Fight' and 'If/Then') delving into what drives us to achieve, and if it's really worth it. <br/>"Interested in comedy that’s underpinned by a tight combination of academic thinking and playful wit? Charlie is one to watch." - Metro

Madame Ovary WildChild Productions

Supported at Vaults by The Pleasance<br/>A 'breathtakingly sad and intensely funny' true-story of Rosa Hesmondhalgh's ovarian cancer treatment aged 23. The 5 star sell-out hit of Edinburgh Fringe is returning to London. Madame Ovary is a life-affirming show about the importance of love when your world comes crashing down.<br/>It's January and Rosa is writing her resolutions. This is her year. She is going to stop going out with plonkers, start doing yoga and write some really good art. But before she's had time to delete her dating apps and get into downward dog, she's diagnosed. With ovarian cancer. And it's spread. Suddenly faced with hospitals, chemotherapy and her own mortality, Rosa's new goal for the year ahead is to survive it. Based on Rosa’s real-life blog, Madame Ovary explores the typical struggle a 20-something has with trying to stay relevant and the less typical struggle of trying to stay alive.<br/>"Breathtakingly sad and intensely funny” Broadway Baby
'Devastating and beautiful and true' Caitlin Moran
***** (ThreeWeeks, Edinburgh Reporter, Young Perspective, Within Her Words, Sincerely Amy, ITalkTelly)
**** (Broadway Baby, Miro Magazine, The Upcoming)

Rob Oldham: Worm’s Resolve

After his 2018 Fringe debut, Worm's Lament (The Guardian's Top Shows of the Edinburgh Fringe), Rob Oldham is back. Worm's Resolve explores being right, being wrong and getting angry. Newspaper fonts, bows and arrows and nose piercings will also be discussed. Answers will be sought, jokes will be told and an impending sense of doom will be momentarily lifted! As seen on BBC Three, as heard on BBC Radio 4. 'Full of finely wrought observation' **** ( 'I was expecting a lot from Rob Oldham. He did not disappoint' **** ( Directed by Liam Williams.

Vile Acts of Love (Work in Progress) Naomi Sheldon

Now that we’ve found love, what are we going to do with it?<br/>Sam and Rose had one of those head over heels romances that made sense of all the love songs. Years later after the devastation this love wreaked on their lives, they have a chance to put their story to bed or destroy each other in the process.<br/>Naomi Sheldon returns to VAULT festival after her smash hit Good Girl, with this fast paced, dark and sexually charged two-hander exploring who gets to be the bad guy and who walks away scot-free when toxic relationships end. Are the wounds we submit ourselves to in the name of love ever worth the scars? Would we do it all over again because although toxic, it made us feel alive?<br/>Good Girl won VAULT festival show of the week and Funny Women best show award before a month long run at Trafalgar Studios in 2018.

how we love AIRLOCK/Annette Brook

4 stars Babs (a man) and Regi (a woman) are planning a wedding in London. But they’ve both left same-sex partners back in Nigeria, where it’s illegal to be gay. How We Love follows the preparations for their sham marriage, while they get intermittent updates from their real partners about how things are going back home. The show is hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, with a lot to say about LGBT rights and the difficulties faced by those who have to hide their true identity to survive. Read the full review.

Gay investigative journalist Babatunde ‘Babs’ Okonkwo has come to visit his lesbian best friend Regina ‘Regi’ Abengowe in Lewisham, south London. With mounting pressures back in Nigeria, where homosexuality is illegal and escalating dangers for their partners, Babs and Regi hatch a plan to get married. They hope this ‘cover’ will stop the threatening rumours and allow Babs to safely expose the inhumane treatment of LGBTQIA+ people in Nigeria, especially in the north where being gay is publishable by death. <br/>Between Waitrose shifts, Regi's undergraduate degree, and snippets of news from back home, Regi and Babs put their friendship to the test. With the help of Regi’s 89-year-old German Jewish neighbour and the ‘Mr & Mrs’ Board Game.<br/>But the storms are gathering in Nigeria. Regi records the acts of violence happening to their friends and Babs’s own brother threatens to betray him. As the wedding approaches, Regi and Babs must choose what they care about the most.
how we love is a new play about different types of love.

Nearly Human Perhaps Contraption

‘We are, each of us, a little universe’ - Carl Sagan
Nine piece, multi award-winning progressive brass band Perhaps Contraption (Les Enfants Terribles award winners 2019) take us on a curious audio-theatrical journey. <br/>Inspired by the words of cosmologist Carl Sagan, this unique gig-theatre experience describes the life-cycle of one extraordinary atom, and how our baffling, unlikely existence is intertwined with the universe. <br/>Expect an abundance of virtuosic musicianship, dynamic choreography and mesmerising contact juggling.<br/>Touching upon biology, spirituality and cosmology, Nearly Human is an epic and euphoric celebration of life and the universe; bursting with triumphant melodies, fascination and wonder.

The Future is Mental Network Theatre Company

Are you happy now? Near-future stories drawing on Black Mirror, Margaret Atwood and the black comedy of Killing Eve. Focused on the stories of women, the plays feature all-seeing smart speakers, curing depression in unusual ways, a new way to choose a decent politician and how to look good in the afterlife. Decluttering, one of the pieces within the show, started life as a short story and was the runner-up in the Crime Writers’ Association Margery Allingham Prize 2019.

The Buzztones present ‘Guilty Pleasures’ The Buzztones

Pop-comedy maestros The Buzztones return to VAULT festival with a brand new hour of nonsense dubbed, for the sake of trying to find a theme, 'Guilty Pleasures'.<br/>We all have those songs and singers that we secretly love but wouldn't admit to, right? The Buzztones certainly do and have been "entertaining" audiences for the last nine years with their eclectic collection of medleys, mash-ups and musical mistakes.<br/>'Guilty Pleasures' is packed with the tracks and artists that you love, but probably shouldn't...<br/>...including The Buzztones themselves come to think of it. Join them for an hour of unadulterated, guilt-free musical pleasure.

Omelette Long Distance

Mia and Mo have been to all the marches, turned off the heating and eaten the goldfish – but the climate’s still collapsing and they’re buckling under the pressure of saving the planet. Omelette is a new play by Anna Spearpoint (Theatre503), directed by Tash Hyman (JMK Award Finalist 2019) about climate anxiety, giving things up, and the pressure to do the right thing all the time.

Alison Spittle Ed Fringe Work in Progress Alison Spittle

Co-host of guilty feminist Alison Spittle is doing a WIP for Edinburgh 2020.
Watch her work some bits out and try and put a show together.
“Whether character or citizen, Spittle comes across as a kind of genius.” **** Irish Times

Neil Delamere (Work in Progress) Off the Kerb

Star of BBC’s the Blame Game, Fighting Talk and the Newsquiz Neil Delamere presents this work-in-progress show.
“You’ll be hard pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.” ***** The Scotsman
“One lean, mean, comedy, killing machine.” ***** The Herald