We’ve been spending many hours talking to a variety of companies heading to this year’s VAULT Festival and we thought it high time that we get the low-down from the other side. Here we have a chat about all things organisational, and dig a little deeper into the new immersive venue, Unit 9.
How’s VAULT Festival planning going at the moment?
With just a few days until we open, it’s one of the busiest times of the year. All the teams have come together at this point – production, communications, programming, technical and so on – to make sure everything is ready, from our daily plans to the venue itself. It’s all hands on deck but a very exciting time.
Why did you decide to open Unit 9?
We’re always looking for ways to present different kinds of work at the Festival. Not everything fits into the “one hour, one stage” model that a lot of fringe theatre works on, so when we found a space that would allow us a little leeway to programme some of the “outside the box” shows that were interested in performing, we jumped at it.
What challenges has this presented to you and the team?
New venues are always tricky. There’s all the paperwork to think about – licensing, money, health and safety – then all the customer facing stuff like signage, opening hours, programming and so on. We had a good idea of what we wanted it to be as soon as we found it but the devil is in the detail!
VAULT venue has always been a bit of a champion for immersive theatre, what excites you about the genre?
It’s an odd word, “immersive” – it means lots of different things to different people, so it’s really hard to define – it can be anything from ‘game based theatre’ like Revolution to tight, tiny audience experiences in bizarre venues, like Wrecked. We like innovation and exploration: new things that seem just crazy enough to work. Immersive theatre offers a lot of that.
How are you managing to transform the space so many times in just a few weeks?
We’ve become old hands at quick turnarounds thanks to our amazing production team. A lot of our team has worked on the Festival for several years and are completely committed to ensuring every show and every audience experience is the best it can be. Combine that with an incredible amount of energy and there’s not a lot they can’t achieve. We’re incredibly grateful to work with such amazing people.
What do you hope the effect of Unit 9 will be on those who come to see the shows?
Well, we hope they’ll have fun, first and foremost. But it’s always nice to think audiences might encounter something completely new, and have an experience they didn’t know was possible in the realm of theatre.
The VAULT Festival is on from the 24th of January to the 18th of March. Information and tickets about all the shows can be found here.