|The entranceway in to the Underbar|
|Early evening in Leake Street and already a performer is out doing his thing|
|Late night entertainment in Leake Street, as passers-by stop to watch the street performers|
Another strength, helping to create different degrees of nuance to the visual aspect of the performances, is in the venue itself. The Vaults is a network of tunnels and performance spaces situated beneath Waterloo rail station. It covers an area of some 30,000 square feet and uses the space very effectively. Each of the performance areas are individually named; The Studio, The Cage, The Cavern, The Pit, etc. Some are smaller in size, others more expansive. Everything is stripped bare. Plain walls exposing brickwork, stone floors which are not always even and, I remember at one show I came to last year after a bad rainfall, there were small puddles of water that had collected in the uneven ridges around the flagstones. It all contributes to the ambience. In many ways, it helps draw you even more into the performances, many of which are interactive in nature anyway. I should point out while it occurs to me that within these spaces proper stage lighting and sound is implemented, along with various stage sets and props. In case that wasn't entirely evident from my description! And of course both lighting and sound add more to the general atmosphere.
|A beer is at hand as I continued to write this blog!|
The organisers are clearly supportive of upcoming performers and theatre companies and another pleasure for me is in discovering original talent being given the opportunity to shine. There is so much out there and it's great to see them getting the chance to show what they can do. Other acts are more well established. It's a good mix. I imagine that from time to time it can be a somewhat thankless task playing to some audiences for these touring performers. Here, the audiences are warmly appreciative.
|A great space for partying into the early hours|
It really is a different kind of night out, so I'd urge you to come and experience it before it ends for another year on 8 March. I'll certainly be returning for a show or two before then.
|A cosy little nook near the bar to hang out with friends|
|Entrance to The Vaults in Leake Street|
The Vault Festival. On until 8 March. Get a ticket. You really don't want to wait another year now do you?