Today's full programme, more choices & comment

The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English : Brand Nouveau Initiative VAULT Edition Nouveau Riche

The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English explores the cultural history of a first generation Nigerian-British woman of Igbo descent<br/>A gripping new play from multi award winning company Nouveau Riche. Written by Tania Nwachukwu, we follow the people of Eze as they fight to preserve their beloved kola tree. <br/>Using African theatre practices, call and response, dance, song, and poetry, this is a loud, unapologetic, passionate embrace of who we are and the importance of a Nigerian-British woman preserving her own history.<br/>The Brand Nouveau Initiative, in partnership VAULT Festival, brings together a group of the best black and minority ethnic emerging artists ready to take the next step in their careers. The scheme provides opportunities to expand their networks, receive first class mentoring from our award winning team, and benefit from creative space, time and research opportunities.<br/>Following successful productions at New Diorama and Soho, this is your chance to experience the next generation of theatre practitioners collaborating together to create exciting, brand new work.<br/>Praise for Nouveau Riche -<br/>WINNER - Underbelly and New Diorama UNTAPPED Award (Queens of Sheba)
BEST NEW PLAY - Off West End Award Nomination (Typical)
BEST MALE PERFORMANCE - Off West End Award Nomination (Typical)

Scab Metamorph Theatre

'Scab' is a one-man show set in any one of the many deprived coastal towns in the UK, which asks the question 'to what extent can one delve into the life of a stranger?' Come and join the Narrator, played by Conor Lowson (‘The Liberator’, Opus Films for Netflix and BBC’s ‘Ladhood’), as he embarks on a playful, dark and devious odyssey into the recesses of his own mind.
This kinetic piece of storytelling is directed by Jamie Biddle (‘Whitechapel: Suspects, Lunatics and a Leather Apron’; ‘Extinct’, The Bush Theatre; ‘Conk the Dyslexia Goblin’, The Bush Theatre and ‘Smoking in the Boys Room’, Theatre503) and written by Luke Stapleton (‘Mycorrhiza', The Space; 'Retinas', Southwark Playhouse, and as Script Editor; BBC's 'The Capture' and Amazon Prime's 'Hanna').
'I have this hole in me
And here
And my whole life is spent just desperately tryin’ not to fall into it.'

Miles Apart Together Paper Smokers

“The air is the only place that is free from prejudice”. Bessie Coleman<br/>They said she couldn’t do it but she could.
From going around the world on a bicycle to doing spectacular airshows or climbing the highest mountains on earth, Annie "Londonderry" Kopchovsky, Bessie Coleman and Junko Tabei fought the prejudice and scepticism that surrounded them.
Their achievements became milestones in the path towards women’s rights and freedom, challenging the assumption that the “fairer sex” lacks the physical and mental stamina for big deeds. Though their adventures were as breathtaking, spellbinding and phenomenal as their male counterparts, where are their stories now?
For one night only Annie, Bessie and Junko come back for the live recording of the podcast “Miles Apart Together” and share their stories.

Four of a Kind Wildcard

Four brand new companies.
Four incredible ideas.
Four of a Kind is a night not to miss. <br/>Wildcard's inaugural Artist Development Programme supports four of the UK's most exciting young companies to each produce a sharing of a brand new piece of work. <br/>Expect hot topics in these fantastic theatre pieces and have an opportunity to give your feedback to help shape the creative future of these emerging companies. Injected with Wildcard's signature energy and attended by programmers from some of the UK's leading venues, Four of a Kind is a platform to help launch exciting new work and an opportunity to meet other artists and programmers from around London and the UK.

Supernova pfh productions

Supernova is a fast-paced pop-culture romp through the space and time of one relationship featuring the greatest back catalogue of Sci-Fi movies ever made. Oh, and depression.<br/>Harry and Tess are perfect for each other: they both wanted to be astronauts as kids, neither can stand rom-coms and they both squirm at the word ‘moist’. But sometimes, however much the universe is drawing you towards a person, sometimes you need to find your own orbit.<br/>From one half of multi-award winning musical comedy duo Stiff & Kitsch (Musical Comedy Award Winners 2018, Official EdFringe sell-out 2019) comes a new play about finding your place in the universe.

The Magnificent Mind of Marcus Seemia Theatre

Meet Marcus. Argentinian. Catholic. Straight. Maybe. He doesn't know anymore, or why he wanted to be Pope when he was young. <br/>Welcome to the Wonderful World of Marcus!<br/>Delving deep into the colourful circus of Marcus’ memories, we meet his fantastical family and friends, loves and losses as he grapples with the events that have shaped him. <br/>Hear the discovery of the dreams and wishes of Marcus and those close to him... but does anyone really listen?<br/>Award-winning Seemia return to VAULT with their dark-comedy, bursting with phsyical-theatre and storytelling, clowning and music. Seemia ask what makes us become who we are, pulling apart the matrix of gender politics, religion and the impact of family relationships on forming our identity.<br/>MARCUS is generously supported by Theatre Deli, The Albany, ARC Stockton and ArcolaLAB for BAME Artists, and public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Seemia are a Tangled Feet mentored company.


Detective Jay Walker is dead. With no leads and a case colder than ice, it’s up to his ex-partner Patrick ‘Nobody calls me Patrick’ Wolf to bust some imaginary heads and find out who killed him... <br/>Armed with just himself and a chair, Lewis Doherty presents WOLF. A one man cyber punk action thriller movie on stage.

Passengers Vacuum Theatre

Max wants to tell you a story. He’s not entirely sure why, or even who he is; savage, peacekeeper or critic?<br/>Passengers, by award-winning UK trans writer Kit Redstone and highly acclaimed UK director Jessica Edwards, explores the epic battles within the psyche and the beautiful power of the mind to protect itself, using ensemble theatre to invite you to see the self in a whole new way.<br/>Kit Redstone has a mild form of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This is a complex psychological condition, previously known as multiple personality disorder. Passengers is a semi-autobiographical dark comedy about the epic battles and alliances within the psyche and the power of the mind to protect itself from pain. Using Kit’s trademark blend of comedy, tragedy, playfulness and heart, Vacuum Theatre show us that by understanding we all have multiple, complex personalities, we can have more compassion and understanding for ourselves and each other. <br/>Kit Redstone’s previous show TESTOSTERONE was shortlisted for The Samuel Beckett Award, The Peter Brook Award and The Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and was winner of the Indies Best Theatre Show 2017.<br/>***** “A dark circus of bodies, metal, and sensuality” Ed Fringe Review

Sian Davies: About Time Sian Davies

Growing up is hard, but most people manage it. Sian Davies (Funny Women Runner Up, Hilarity Bites Winner 2018) waited until she was 27 to grow up. Everyone agreed, it was about time.<br/>“Simultaneously warm and sharp, she’s what Jason Manford would be if he was a Liverpudlian lesbian, with a broad appeal and snappy jokes.”
Steve Bennett, Chortle.
“A cross between Peter Kay and Zoe Lyons.”
Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke.<br/>About Time is the story of Sian's austerity sponsored gap year and her journey as a working class traveller in an unfamiliar world. From the Taj Mahal to the local Tesco, this overgrown kid has seen it all. She's been there, done that and got the T shirt to prove it. Along the way, much to everyone's relief, she finally manages to grow up.
Join Sian on this extraordinary journey as she shares the truth about what really happened on her gap year.

About 500 Simona Hughes

When Clem first dates Luke, she is a 32-year-old ambitious go-getter woman, (eggcount 115), with no interest in motherhood. Four years later, and happily in love, she decides she does want a child after all. Clem and Luke then gradually find themselves in a crisis of infertility, in which Clem becomes increasingly obsessed with time, (insisting it is going too fast), and counting things (like her remaining eggcount)... . To make matters worse, Clem’s older and best friend, Ruth, accidentally conceives a second child, aggravating her despair. By the time Clem is 42 (eggcount 7) she has become mentally and emotionally absent, slipping in and out of her own ‘egg-time’ (which runs faster than everyone else’s). Luke, fearing he has lost her, suggests that it’s time to give up on ‘project baby’.<br/>About 500 combines an unfolding drama between 3 characters with an exploration of the subjective nature of time and a docu-theatre thread suggesting the real women’s voices behind the play. It also uses movement and an ‘installation’ made up of 100s of tiny meringues to convey the spent and squandered ovulations that come to haunt the protagonist. The story’s 10-year passage of time is made explicit to the audience through an ever-present visual display of Clem’s remaining egg count, a forcible reminder of her ever diminishing odds.<br/>The average age of first conception for women in the UK is now 30 and climbing steadily. However, the cliff edge of female fertility remains brutal, dropping dramatically at 35, with the result that more and more women find themselves involuntarily childless in their 40s. This has a huge, and seriously overlooked, impact on women's mental health. The fundamental disparity between a punishingly finite female fertility and a potentially infinite male fertility remains an issue that our society has failed to address, and something of a blind spot for feminism.
About 500 invites audiences to consider this raw deal that contemporary women face.

Jordan Brookes: This is Just What Happens Fight in the Dog Ltd

EDINBURGH COMEDY AWARD WINNER 2019<br/>An hour of semi-improvised time-filling. I can’t promise anything. I don’t know what I’ll be talking about. I’ve no idea what this will be. The only thing I can guarantee is that it will have happened. At some point it will have happened, and you can’t say fairer than that.

Trying To Find Me Harts Theatre Company

Featuring movement and a club soundtrack Trying To Find Me is a semi- autobiographical show about the shame of pain. The show exposes the secret, heart-breaking and wonderfully honest and funny world of Ann — a black woman in her early 30s looking for love and in many ways, trying to heal. <br/>It incorporates BSL, creative captioning, visual sound technology and audio description, utilising a variety of communication styles woven into the narrative and movement fabric of the piece

Far Gone John Rwothomack

“If I invited you to come with me on a journey, a story, will you come with me?”<br/>Northern Uganda. When Okumu’s village is attacked by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), he and his brother’s lives are changed forever.<br/>Far Gone is a profoundly moving story of a young boy’s journey from childhood innocence to child soldier. Seen through the eyes of those that love him and those that betray him, Okumu’s experience strikes straight at the heart through a powerful one-man performance by John Rwothomack, directed by Moji Elufowoju.

Invisibles MIO Projects

The world premiere of Invisibles by Argentinian writer Lola Lagos platforms the voices of two Latin women who despite being robbed from their dignity and freedom, never succumb to losing their spirit.<br/>Sandra and Marisa have been in this place for a long time. A place they thought would bring a better life but only takes and takes and takes away... Yet when the music plays, the women dance, laugh and love. Stuck between abuse and violence, they keep on living and dreaming. Dreaming of a better life, somewhere across the river. <br/>Directed by feminist theatremaker Nastazja Somers, Invisibles is a haunting and political piece of theatre that brings us closer to understanding the real weight of endurance and resistance carried by so many women in many foreign lands.

A Lightweight Disposable Product ALINEMENT PRODUCTIONS

July 3rd, 1976. It’s Nora’s 19th birthday and it’s been three years to the day since she ran away from home. Standing outside the Pier Pavilion, Hastings, having just watched The Sex Pistols play live for the first time, she knows her life is about to change forever.

Beach Body Ready The Roaring Girls

It's the season of cutting carbs, hitting it hard at the gym, and shaving everything from the chin down. Summer has rocked up and the media has us thinking about how our bodies aren't up to scratch and there are companies ready to capitalise on that. We've been shamed, dehumanised, and humiliated for how we look and we've had enough.
Join The Roaring Girls for a defiantly feel-good show which sticks two fingers up at how the media says you should look.
The Roaring Girls are getting Beach Body Ready. Are you?<br/>"Engaging, funny and inclusive" - The Guardian<br/>"Beach Body Ready is the show the world has been waiting for" - Within Her Words

Storm Bunch of People

"You've fucked the planet mum but you're still on me bout my phone"
Emma wants to dance. Phoebe is struggling to stay out of referal units. Austerity hasn’t helped, screens are proving to be very challenging and trauma lurks somewhere in the very beginnings of the umbilical cord. When you are battling a storm you gotta hanker down and believe it will pass. But when the storm gets into your home what do you do to protect yourself and the ones you love? STORM is a raw, new play written by Juliet Knight and gives voice to invisible women who have sat alone in special care units and now wonder if that is why their miracle children are teenagers who fight so hard against the world. Reaching 50, Juliet Knight searched for manifestations of her own personal story. Quickly realising they weren't out there she wanted to shed some light on how chaos, conflict and closeness in a single parent unit can affect a mother and daughter’s mental health. Using live music and physicality the production explores how changing-hormones and parenting teenagers can be a monumental catalyst for change and deserves airspace. First supported by The National Theatre Studio and using lived in experience as a single parent, Storm tells the story of a mother and daughter's intense and complex relationship which has built up through years of broken public services and shut down centres. It looks at the comic and tragic ways in which two family members fight against each other and questions why two people who love each other so much can hate so hard. Emma is a mother who misses her little girl and Phoebe is the adolescent the girl has become. This play is for any parent who has navigated the teenage years, any child who has stood up to their mother or anyone who is living in these interesting times. A brand new score by Tristan Parkes and Aruhan Galieva with direction by Sam Hardie and Juliet Knight.

1&Only Unlikely Productions

“An impressive success for Australian-born Unlikely Productions, who assemble a poignant and thought-provoking line-up of talent.” ***** (Broadway World UK on The Apologists)<br/>1&Only is a near-fi, bureaucratic, satirical comedy. The show takes place in 2048. The government has two years left to fulfill their promise of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and so far, nothing has been done. In a last-ditch effort to save the planet, the Minister for Roads, Transport (and climate crisis) has decided to launch a one-child policy on the unwitting public.<br/>Led by a crack team of political strategists and marketing experts, the audience will join them in a secret underground vault for an emergency meeting as they brainstorm and blue-sky their way through catchy names, viral videos, subliminal messaging, propaganda pop and mind- control technology in their thankless mission to make the notion of a one-child policy sound like an appealing prospect.<br/>Brought to you by the team at Unlikely Productions (The Apologists), 1&Only is written by Gabrielle Scawthorn and Hugo Chiarella, directed by Sam Hooper (Death Suits You) and performed by Gabrielle Scawthorn (The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Rose Riley (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time) and Will Close (Great British Mysteries).<br/>In the age of Boris Johnson, Brexit and Trump, 1&Only is a comedic romp about the politics of selling and the selling of politics.

Ed MacArthur: The Mistakable Sound of Ed MacArthur Ed MacArthur

Join award-winning Ed MacArthur in this madcap, multi-instrumental, one-man musical comedy. Star of hit shows Inheritance Blues (**** (Scotsman)), Swansong (**** (Stage)), Stack (**** (Fest)) and Murder For Two (**** (Telegraph)), MacArthur will delight audiences with his razor-sharp wit and stunning musicianship. 'MacArthur, straight-backed and deadpan, has talent in spades' (Dominic Cavendish, Telegraph). Co-produced by Edinburgh Fringe favourites DugOut Theatre, The Mistakable Sound of Ed MacArthur is a hilarious hour in which MacArthur thrills audiences on piano, guitar, accordion, ukulele and more. ‘MacArthur has natural charm and considerable skill’ (Lyn Gardner, Guardian). **** (List). **** (ThreeWeeks). ***** ( **** ( **** ( **** (

Who Murdered My Cat? Roann McCloskey

Not from the makers of ‘Making a Murderer’. Also not from the makers of ‘Kidnapped in Plain Sight’ – A journey of self discovery where Roann leaves no (wo)man behind. Piecing together what it means to be a mixed heritage, queer, woman having grown up in the 90's, in Wembley.<br/>Gender & sexuality, a spilt nail varnish, a murdered cat. Roann delves into her past, as she has some questions and questionable memories. All her family members are back in force in her second show and due to popular demand, more stories of her Algerian Mother and her unique take on life will take centre stage. <br/>'Congenial storyteller, a likeable stage presence, a lot of truth'
The Stage<br/>‘Ask her to read a train timetable and she could have her audience in stitches’.
British Theatre Guide<br/>‘Packed full of love, integrity, wit and humour.’ ****
Bath Echo <br/>‘McCloskey broaches the subjects of sexuality, family and dating in a fresh, tender and delicate manner that will leave an impression on you that is impossible to ignore.’ ****
WithinHerWords<br/>‘My Father... offers a mixture of meaningful reflections on family whilst still being able to relatably laugh at the fact your dad can't use Facebook properly.’ ****
Somewhere Magazine

Jenny Bede: The Musical Jenny Bede

Bede always worried that her classical training in musical theatre stopped her being seen as a proper comedian, serious actor, or decent human being. However, much like nationalism and Greggs, musical theatre is having a bit of a moment, and, always the fair weather friend, Jenny wants in on the action.  <br/>In her bid to become a younger, sexier Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jenny has written roughly somewhere between 35-45 future West End hit shows. Jenny Bede: The Musical will feature some of the very best songs from some of her favourite attempts.   In a bid to show off her - admittedly quite limited - range, Jenny will take her audience on a semi-autobiographical journey of singing ghosts, bad feminism and her time in a girlband, whilst giving her own unique spin on some of the big issues of the day, from gender politics to privilege, in this riotous celebration of musical theatre and modern pop music.<br/>As seen on Catastrophe (Channel 4), Humans (Channel 4), Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (Sky One), Lovesick (Netflix), Episodes (BBC2), Watson & Oliver (BBC2), Misfits (E4) and Broadchurch (ITV).

Best In Class Best In Class

Showcasing underrepresented working-class comedy voices. Sponsored by Spam, chippy teas, waste grounds, hanging around, knock-off trainers, a fella your dad knows, weed, the unions, crap schools, bunking off, electric meters, Brixton, Toxteth, Grenfell, hand-me-down clothes, caravans, the back of a lorry, failed MOTs, failed GCSEs, bus stops, payday loans, bacon, pubs, pints, tobacco, Margaret f*cking Thatcher, Cash Converters, Universal Credit, zero-hour contracts, jam butties, gravy, pyjamas, broken glass, broken homes, playing out, white lightning, E, backyards, slums, dying young, the NHS, tired dads, fierce mums and empowerment. A crowd-funded profit-share, as it should be.

6/49 Angus Harrison

A play about luck and the stories we tell about money. <br/>Natalie. 25. Life on hold. <br/>Staring at an uncertain future, she picks over a series of moments in her life – both small and significant – trying to understand when things began to fall apart.<br/>‘6/49’ sets about defining the shapeless pressure of debt on low-income families. A new play by journalist Angus Harrison, directed by Elin Schofield.

The Ballerina Outer Gaea Company

Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' meets Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.<br/>Set in a country not so far away, Colin Clutterbuck, a British diplomat is brutally arrested by the National Intelligence Agency. Thrown into a cell and accused of conspiring to overthrow the government; Colin fights back with wit and great British banter. But with the infamous master interrogator, Pacifique Muamba as his opponent, the young diplomat is about to be painfully re-educated and taken to the brink of madness.<br/>Following a sold-out NYC Premiere, Outer Gaea Company makes it Vaults Festival debut with 'The Ballerina'.


Hot off the back of total sell-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe 2016, 2017, 2018 and Soho Theatre, London; multi award-winning company Police Cops bring you their latest comedy blockbuster: Badass Be Thy Name. Gritty northern town: 1999. A kitchen sink drama turns into a vampire-slaying horror epic. Complete with a 90s rave soundtrack, supercharged physical comedy and more vampires that you can shake a stake at. Winners: Amused Moose Comedy Award 2018. ***** (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine). 'I paid £12, I would have paid £13' (Dara Ó Briain).

Kai Humphries: Team Smug MZA & Punchdrunk Present - Kai Humphries

Kai is a happy-go-lucky Geordie stand-up and writer who is rapidly shooting up the international comedy ranks. He’s written 7 solo shows and has performed at festivals in Australia, the Middle East, India, performed multiple seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe and has toured all over the UK as well as in over 40 countries around the world with Daniel Sloss.
He also created the now-legendary and award-winning Comedian’s Boxing Event “Fight For Kian”, runs some of the best comedy clubs in the UK and is also one of the best UK stand-ups that you may never heard of - yet! He's even big in Transylvania (a country he didn't actually believe existed until he arrived at the airport - he thought it was a tour wind up). When he's not writing killer punchlines, Kai likes to knit (I shit you not - he's great at this as well). He's hilarious, he's positive and he's well worth an hour of your time to see.

I’m OKayfabe: A Wrestling Comedy Fake Heat

Kayfabe: a pro wrestling term that refers to the act of blending characters and reality, which is sometimes how it feels to be a woman. In I'm OKayfabe, two failing humans smash the lights out of each other, trying to pin down what it is to be a woman in a brilliantly crafted hour of silly, dumb fun with an exceptionally smart narrative.
As enjoyable for hardcore wrestling fans as it is for those who've only ever known WWF as the World Wildlife Fund, I'm OKayfabe offers side-splitting laughs alongside heartbreaking social commentary. Come along for a night of slams, power bombs and DDTs, guest comedian commentators and the most remarkable shooting star press ever to have been performed by a baby.

Robin Morgan (Work in Progress) Robin Morgan

A brand new hour from the 2019 Edinburgh sell-out and the "utterly hilarious: (Broadway Baby) Welsh comic. <br/>As seen on Sky One, CBBC, BBC Three and Comedy Central.<br/>Writer of The Mash Report (BBC Two) and The News Quiz (BBC R4). <br/>**** Sunday Times

Fucked Up Fairytales The Embers Collective

Come underground and join The Embers Collective for a night of weird, wild and wonky stories and songs. <br/>The Embers Collective are a storytelling and music ensemble that put on intimate shows in intriguing locations. They tell ancient tales with a modern twist, set within an evolving musical soundscape.<br/>'Master storytellers' Time Out<br/>Joyous, immersive and moving' The Nest Collective

Recovery Town Ella Prendergast

“I’m the kid of an alcoholic. It’s coloured the way I see the world. It’s impacted every part of me. But it’s made me, me.” <br/>It’s been two years since Max's mum, Pip, got sober after nearly dying from alcoholism. She was given days to live. She lived.<br/>This is the story of her Recovery in an absurd small town in the depths of the English countryside - a place where recovering addicts gravitate to attend one of the three recovery centres it’s home to. <br/>We follow Pip from the day she leaves hospital as she attempts to stay sober through following infuriatingly complicated recycling instructions from her neighbour Graham, to reconciliations and rebuilding of relationships. Through storytelling, the characters of Pip, her neighbours (a melee of bizarre country types, each dysfunctional in their own way), her friends, family and new AA fellowship chums are brought to life.<br/>Punctuated with stories from the ‘dark days’ throughout, Recovery Town is a one-woman raucous dark scrapbook of comedic storytelling, clowning, musical comedy, illustration and standup comedy exploring the impact of alcoholism on the addict through the eyes of their daughter. <br/>Written and performed by Ella Prendergast, who has a parent in recovery, Recovery Town is based on a true story and real accounts from recovering addicts.

Late Night Gimp Fight and Enemies Late Night Gimp Fight

Late Night Gimp Fight are wiping down the masks once again and this time they're bringing some younger, more talented comedians with them for the ride. Expect songs, inappropriate punchlines and the sight of five men in their mid thirties questioning their life choices on stage whilst dancing...

(Wo)men Rule Broadway – West End Edition (Wo)men Rule Broadway, Lights Down Productions, and Kelly Coughlin

(Wo)men Rule Broadway [West End Edition] is a night of singing, full choreography (with surprises!), and a live band. We're singing and performing songs originally written for men. At the heart of our energetic and jam-packed programme, we are going to be exploring roles that are not typically written for women, challenging societal views and expectations of how women are cast, and bucking the system of how women are historically expected to behave. This show is not about proving that "women can hang with/be just like men," but rather to show that women, like men, are fully complex human beings with more inside of us than what society has given us permission to show.<br/>Featuring a wide array of songs from across the musical theatre songbooks, we're here for 2 performances ONLY!