VAULT Festival announces ‘mini’ festival for under 11s

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Pirates of the Carabina will perform extracts of their show Flown as part of the inaugural Mini VAULT (Credit: Cryingoutloud.org)

This year’s VAULT Festival – opening on 28 January for six weeks of performances, events and workshops at Leake Street’s tunnels in London Waterloo – will include an inaugural Mini VAULT festival for under 11s, with three weekends of underground shows, events and free activities for families.

Highlights of Mini VAULT will include Comedy Club 4 Kids, in which stand-up comedians and sketch artists perform their work for children aged six and above and their families; British and international circus performers Pirates of the Carabina performing excerpts of their show Flown; all-female performance company Figs in Wigs bring their performance Show Off, showcasing their mix of theatre, comedy and dance for children aged eight+; and Greenlight Theatre will present their interactive children’s show for ages three and up, Albee Vector the Sound Collector. As well as performances, Mini VAULT will also run a range of workshops.

Show Off Christa Holka Low Res

All-female performance group Figs with Wigs bring Show Off to 2015’s Mini VAULT (Credit: Christa Holka)

The main VAULT Festival programme has plenty to offer adult attendees. IdeasTap will host a selection of their free spa sessions each Saturday of the festival. The first sessions taking place on 31 January will be ‘A Beginners Guide to Writing For The Stage’ and ‘How To Take A Show To Edinburgh’; on 7 February, Snapdragon Productions will offer their advice on ‘Setting Up a Theatre Company’, and the Rhum and Clay Theatre Company will run sessions on ‘Creating Theatre Without Words’ (28 February) and ‘An Introduction to Le Coq’ (21 February). All of the IdeasTap sessions are free, but booking is required as spaces are limited.

VAULT has a range of workshops on offer for 2015’s festival, including live performance arts and entertainment company Artful Badger’s session on ‘wall-running’,  Scaffold State Theatre Company’s guide to  adapting an ancient drama into a modern text in 30 minutes, and a workshop in improvising and devising for performance led by Needless Alley Collective.

Also taking place throughout the festival will be discussions as part of ‘VAULT Panels: Join the debate’. On 8 February, ‘The Big Arts Debate’ will take place, looking at ‘Cultural policy and the future for UK theatre and the arts’. Other highlights in the Panels programme include ‘Elephant in the room: What is the social responsibility of The Arts?’ (20 February) and ‘The Female Force Forum: The Future for Women in Theatre’ (7 March). The Panels discussions are free to attend, but require booking.

VAULT Festival runs from 28 January to 8 March; Mini VAULT runs on the weekends of 7–8 February, 21–22 February and 7–8 March. For more details, visit www.vaultfestival.com.

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Last chance for Latitude Festival – Starts this Friday

Claudine Nightingale reports on the theatre offerings at this weekend’s Latitude Festival

Arts of all genres are catered for at Latitude (Credit: Danny North)

Arts of all genres are catered for at Latitude (Credit: Danny North)

It’s that time of year again … school summer holidays, yes, but also festival season! If you’re wondering what to do with your weekend now there are no exam papers to mark, perhaps a trip to Latitude Festival in Suffolk is what you need to help you forget the past busy year. For those of you who aren’t really in the mood for a more conventional music festival – and I know you’re all passionate about theatre – Latitude is the perfect solution. As well as some great music acts, they have equally strong offerings in the field of theatre, poetry, comedy and film. Plus, if you’ve got your own children to entertain over the summer, this couldn’t be better; Latitude provides award-winning facilities and entertainment for children of all ages, ensuring that both you and they have a great weekend.

Young people can work towards an Arts Award while at the festival (Credit: Steve Hunt for Culture Works East)

Young people can work towards an Arts Award while at the festival (Credit: Steve Hunt for Culture Works East)

For children, there is an Inbetweeners teen area, designed for young people aged 12 and over. There’s loads for children to get involved with, including working as a reporter for the festival, or even performing on stage in the tent. It is organised by Culture Works East, the company that have helped to facilitate the Arts Awards possibilities for children attending the festival (see the forthcoming issue of Parent Guide to Drama Education published free online in August 2014 to find out more).

It’s also really encouraging to see that Latitude have branched out this year to actively cater for school groups. Although the deadline has passed for this year, they have been offering discounted day tickets for the Friday of the festival for local schools, with a free teacher ticket for every ten students, to allow them to take part in the Arts Award scheme and other child-friendly events. Let’s hope this goes well and is developed in future years so that more students can take advantage of this opportunity.

Forced Entertainment's The Notebooks features at 2014's Latitude Festival (Credit: Tim Etchells)

Forced Entertainment’s The Notebooks features at 2014’s Latitude Festival (Credit: Tim Etchells)

Most importantly, of course, there’s loads on offer for you. As well as a host of acts and artists in other fields (literally and figuratively!), there are some big names in theatre appearing during the weekend: on Friday, Clean Break and Forced Entertainment will each be performing two different productions; the Royal Shakespeare Company are performing a brand-new show on Saturday and Sunday, directed by Erica Whyman; and there are many others worth watching out for, including the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and the Royal Exchange Theatre.

There’s not much time left, but if you’re the spontaneous type then Latitude is the only place for culture vultures to be this weekend. Tickets are still available for camping, but you can also purchase day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday if you just want to sample the experience. All the information you need is at www.latitudefestival.com. Maybe see you there …