Pleasance and Omnibus Theatre are working together to provide 20 cancelled VAULT Festival shows with the opportunity to present their work safely to audiences.
With gig theatre, new plays, comedies, spoken word, and brand-new ideas from artists across the UK, these 20 shows capture some of the essence of the exciting and thrilling new work being created. Pleasance and Omnibus will also be supported by VAULT Festival Creative Arts to help cross promote and support these artists, to give them as wide a platform as possible.
Taking place across both venues in Islington and Clapham, with additional social distancing and capacity restrictions in place, to ensure this is as safe as possible for staff, artists and audiences alike.
In Islington, audiences will be treated to the debut play by acclaimed Margate-based spoken word artist and poet Henry Madd. An autobiographical spoken word theatre show about growing up in a small country town, The Land of Lost Content (10-12 February) also stars Darragh Hand (Nouveau Riche’s For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, New Diorama). Isabelle Farah’s new theatre-comedy piece Ellipsis (15-19 February) tackles suicide bereavement and dealing with grief through performing stand-up comedy. Following a brilliant run at Edinburgh Festival 2021 it now comes to Pleasance.
Another show with its roots in poetry, Please Do Not Touch (22-26 February), explores the contested history of the many National Trust and Museum items marked ‘Do Not Touch’. It is written by Casey Bailey, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020 – 2022, and the Greater Birmingham Future Face of Arts and Culture 2020. How To Build A Wax Figure (22-26 February), is Isabella Waldron’s electric new play, bringing a fresh perspective on queer love, age-gap relationships, and ocularistry. Girl meets anatomical wax sculptor. Anatomical wax sculptor meets Girl. They fall in love. Or something like that.
AGATHA (2-5 March) is a gig-show fusing spoken word, dialogue and music from award-winning writer Gemma Barnett. Based on real life events, it tells the story of three generations of women battling lost dreams, coping mechanisms, and each other. Cult favourites SLAMinutes (3-5 March) returns with four unique and special offerings tackling a wide range of subjects in their unique one minute monologue format! Each night over 30 performers: playwrights, spoken word artists, comedians, drag artists, singer-songwriters and everything in between, will stake to the stage.
Also joining the programme is Beth Watson’s autobiographical comedy about coming out as a lesbian, only to discover that boys are also appealing. Hasbian (8-12 March) uses real teenage diaries, music, and teen-movie actors from the early 00s to tell a story of growing up queer in Brighton under Section 28. Pleasance Associate Artists Spies Like Us return with Speed Dial (8-12 March). After sold-out performances at VAULT 2020, they return to the London fringe with their brand new, action-packed, thrilling physical caper about connection, forgiveness, and cryptic crossword.
Steve and Tobias Versus Death (15-19 March) is a comedy about two brothers trapped in their living room during a zombie apocalypse. Papermug Theatre return with a new play by Daniel Kettle and Sebastian Gardner, in collaboration with Superglue Assembly Line. In Chatham House Rules (15-19 March), Hospitality agency work goes particularly deranged. Directed by Emily Aboud, Louis Rembges’ blistering new solo play examines the secret world of the 1% and the power of social media.
South of the river in Clapham we kick off with Happy Together (5 February), a work-in-progress performance from exciting emerging writer Mengqi He (2021 Royal Court Theatre Writer’s Group) exploring sexuality, racial and gender identity based on the writer’s own experiences as an immigrant from Mainland China.
A bold world premiere from writer Ella Dorman-Gajic (“Impassioned.” The Guardian), Trade (15-19 February) takes us inside the European sex-trafficking industry through the eyes of a young woman as she attempts to find a place in a world she never asked to be a part of.
The placenta hits the fan in after birth (22-26 February), a dark comedy by Zena Forster (2020 Propeller Artist), directed by Grace Duggan (WOOD, VAULT Festival 2019). This new powerhouse play is rooted in the real experiences of resilient, funny women who shared their stories.
Alongside runs digital hit, OnComm finalist and Scenesaver Outstanding Performance Award-winner About 500 (22-26 February), finally taking to the stage in front of a live audience. Written and directed by Simona Hughes, this is a play about eggs and time and the cruel lack of both.
Programmed as part of our cancelled Summer 2020 season, award-winning storyteller Roann McCloskey is finally back to overshare in Clapham. Who Murdered My Cat? (25-26 February) is a fearless and inquisitive investigation into the mystery of what it means to be a mixed heritage, queer woman having grown up in ‘90s Wembley.
Then Lavender (25-27 February), a crude and chaotic history lesson into the lives of two young queers, lands in London for the first time fresh from an acclaimed run at Exeter Fringe Festival 2021.
Finally Wes Anderson meets Hitchcock meets Spaghetti Western in The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much (2-4 March), a fast-paced whodunnit from international physical theatre company Voloz Collective.
Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust comments, As a part of the UK theatre festival ecology, we know how damaging this lack of entry level opportunity is more widely across the sector. We have been lucky enough to be able to move some of our London schedule around to create the space to support 10 theatre shows from the cancelled programme, but know this only a small fraction of the shows that have been impacted. These opportunities are important, so we are glad to be doing what we can with these artists.
Marie McCarthy, Artistic Director of Omnibus Theatre comments, We are so delighted to welcome 10 shows from the cancelled VAULT Festival programme to Clapham. The last few weeks have highlighted the vital importance of VAULT Festival in the landscape of London theatre, and how without it there is a significant gap for artists looking to create, develop and experiment. The last two years has caused an exhausting uncertainty for artists and, through conversation and collaboration, a huge focus of our work has been to establish the role we can play in supporting them. We are so pleased to be able to stand together with Pleasance, VAULT Festival and these brilliant theatre makers to deliver a safe, welcoming and thrilling programme of transferred work.
Pleasance: Buy tickets from www.pleasance.co.uk or call 0207 609 1800.
Omnibus: Buy tickets from www.omnibus-clapham.org or call 0207 498 4699.