Vault Festival 2020: The best theatre shows to see at London's biggest arts festival

Zoe Paskett

We can finally get out of that start-of-year funk, because Vault Festival is back in town.

Over the next eight weeks, performers from across genres descend on the Waterloo arches for the city’s biggest arts festival and this year, it’s bigger than ever.

You’ve got more than 500 shows from 2,700 artists to choose from, so we wouldn’t blame you for feeling paralysed by indecision. That’s what we’re here for.

We’ve chosen some of the theatre shows we’re most excited about seeing.

I Don’t Know What To Do

No idea what to do about the climate crisis? You’re not alone. Waleed Akhtar & Zoe Lafferty’s play follows a personal journey exploring what can go wrong when you act without thinking of the consequences. We’ve all got to do something, but here’s a place to begin if you don’t want to make too many mistakes when saving the world.

January 30-31

Since U Been Gone

Teddy Lamb’s moving play about grief and growing up queer in the Noughties was a huge hit in Edinburgh and London. The autobiographical monologue grapples with changing pronouns and what happens when memories of a lost friend don’t fit anymore. Set to an original score, Lamb performs a bold story about regret, love and reacquainting yourself with who you are.

February 4-9

Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her)

Angelina Chudi takes the audience on a journey of recovery from trauma as Patricia, who has spent a year finding the exact words she’d say to her abusive ex. After she bumps into him and somehow agrees to dinner, she has to wrestle with what the relationship made of her and how she survived it. This is Martha Watson Allpress' first full-length play.

February 5-9

Sister!

Anyone with their priorities in order will be worrying about the future of NHS. Set in 2030, Jade and Lauren look back over the history of nurses that came before them. With physical theatre and verbatim text, the play is a celebration and a call to action to save what we have built.

February 8 and 15

Bible John

Four women with a podcast obsession take it upon themselves to crack one of Scotland’s darkest unsolved crimes: the murder of three women in 1969 by an Old Testament-quoting killer, nicknamed Bible John. The play looks into the ethics behind true crime entertainment and why women are so hungry for these stories.

February 12-16

Glamrou: Quran to Queen

Glamrou has a story to tell. On a quest to merge their queerness with their Islamic heritage, the drag performer takes the audience through a devout childhood, the embrace of supposedly liberal Western culture and the many failings of whiteness, to reconciliation of identities. With songs, wigs and a huge amount of humour.

February 19-20

motherEarth

ThisEgg returns after the success of their last show, dressed (which won a Fringe First award in 2018 and a slew of positive reviews). This time, their new work-in-progress show is all about the earth in peril, the loss of mothers and grieving.

February 25-26

Chyna

A 14-year-old, deaf dancer shows us a different way to experience the world. Weave Stories’ show mixes Chyna’s live solo performance with a video documentary, using all of her senses to lead us through her daily life. The show is accessible to all, without the use of translation.

March 3-5

Pyneapple

A new collective of female theatre-makers bring a show about sexuality, colourism and mental health based on their own real-life experiences. Erycah, Lauryn, Maya and Ray find a safe space in hair studio Crowns, but rising rent prices threaten the existence of their sanctuary.

March 17-19

Invisibles

Argentinian writer Lola Lagos presents the world premiere of a story about two women, imprisoned but never losing their spirit. Sandra and Marisa dance and laugh their way through abuse and violence, always dreaming of a better life.

March 17-22

Vault Festival runs from January 28-March 22. For tickets and full programme go to, vaultfestival.com