With just a few days until VAULT Festival 2019, London’s biggest and boldest annual arts festival, kicks off, we’ve selected our Top Five VAULT Festival Picks for Week One.

5Juniper and Jules

23- 27 January

Clamour presents ‘Juniper and Jules’, a new queer play by Stephanie Martin, directed by Bethany Pitts. Until Juniper, Jules hadn’t realised she liked girls. Falling headlong into a relationship, in a world where monogamy is the norm, they soon discover they want to do things differently.

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4In Loyal Company

23 – 27 January

Total sell out show: Edinburgh Fringe 2018

In Loyal Company is the incredible true story of missing World War II soldier and prisoner of War Arthur Robinson, written and performed by his great-nephew, David William Bryan.

May 1941. Hitler’s bombs rain on Liverpool. Local packer, Arthur Robinson, joins up becoming a private in the 18th reconnaissance division. Deployed to Singapore, his ship is destroyed by Japanese dive bombers on arrival. Arthur is declared missing. This extraordinary true story of survival is a tour-de-force war epic.

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3Kompromat

23 – 27 January

Inspired by the still-unsolved 2010 murder of GCHQ agent Gareth Williams, Kompromat is a tense drama of double agents and our capacity for self-deception played out against a high-stakes game of love. Written by David Thame and directed by multiple award-winner Peter Darney (5 Guys Chillin’).

The nerve agent worked liked they said, and now it’s time to tidy-up. Scoop the condom from the toilet, wipe surfaces for DNA, zip the body into the sports bag Zac’s Russian minders provided. By this evening this wetjob will be history, and Zac will be on the Eurostar heading back to safety in Budapest.

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2Open

23 – 27 January

Chris and Tim are married, but like 40 per cent of gay couples, they’re in an open relationship. Switching between verbatim, storytelling and real-life comedy drama, Chris and Tim invite you under the covers for an intimate exploration of their love, jealousy and desire for one another…and many, many others.

But was it all worth it? Drawing on Grindr chats, private emails, and interviews with current and former lovers, Open is an up-close and personal modern day romance, for anyone curious enough to find out.

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1Thomas

23 – 27 January

Thomas has Asperger’s. David doesn’t. As they struggle through the ups and downs of youth and into manhood, “Thomas” explores the experience of living with this still often misunderstood condition, and the challenges it poses both in life’s milestones and in the everyday. Companionship, self-acceptance, and kindness in times of pain are at the heart of this tender story of two cousins fighting to become the men they think they should be.

All performances will be Relaxed. This means that you can come and go as you need, make noise during the show, and the audience will be well-lit enough for you to see around you. There will be no strobe lighting, flashing lights, or sudden loud noises.

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Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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