VAULT Festival got underway in its sixth incarnation this week.

Now running for eight weeks, the festival offers an ever more mind-boggling selection of live performances to pick from with over 52% of shows written or directed by women.

There is a range of BAME and LGBTQ work and events produced with disabled and non-disabled artists.

In theatre, the wide range of issues include the refugee crisis, gender conditioning, recovery after sexual assault, black feminist movements, domestic slavery and homophobia in the boxing ring.

For the first time this year, there is a dedicated VAULT Comedy Festival providing over 125 comedy shows across the eight weeks, as well as musicals and cabaret and a range of family shows.

Amongst the shows on offer are:

  • AI Love You

    In Heart to Heart Theatre's AI Love You, the audience are cast as the ‘Creative Biolife Ethical Steering Committee’ in a play that looks at the boundaries between humans and artificial intelligence through the story of Adam and April, a human-robot twenty-something couple, happy until unexpected health concerns start to loom.

    Joe Ball directs Peter Dewhurst and Eve Ponsonby who swap the role of robot nightly.

  • The Poetry We Make

    With the help of her hero and spirit guide Dolly Parton, Elliott deals with the discovery that the love of her life has started to transition to become a woman. An intimate narrative into the effects of the transition of gender on a formerly heteronormative and cis relationship featuring live performances of songs from Dolly Parton’s canon.

    Flugelman Productions. Written by Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal. Musical direction by Ella Bellsz. Edwina Stobl directs a cast of performers and musicians: Elena Voce as Elliott, Mia Hall as Dolly Parton and transgender performer Elijah W Harris as Robin. Sam Thorpe-Spinks plays Paul.

  • You

    Written by Mark Wilson, this powerful play about adoption won the Brighton Festival Award for Theatre, the Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence and Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award.

    Kathryn O’Reilly and Stephen Myott-Meadows are directed by Sarah Meadows. Composer Benedict Taylor. Longsight Theatre Company.

  • Elsa

    A straight-talking look at expectations of millennial women using song and satire. Aspiring actress Elsa works in a café, eavesdropping on customers as she struggles to make sense of a world dominated by social pressures and personal brands. Created and performed by Isobel Rogers. Directed by Sara Joyce.

  • Tumulus

    Loosely based on the Grindr murders, British-American playwright Christopher Adams’s Queer Noir play is a murder mystery that explores the dangers of the London chemsex culture and the murders and deaths in the gay community associated with social media.

    Matt Steinberg directs Ian Hallard, Tom Rhys Harries and Ciarán Owens playing over 40 roles between them.

  • The Boring Room

    This trio of short dark comedies is the début work Olly Allsopp in which he satirises crime fiction with an existential bent: crime, judgement and punishment in completely the wrong order.

    Tom Crowley directs Emily Stride, Jamie Laird and Michael Keane.

  • The Very Important Child

    A chaotic, uplifting and lyrical theatre performance for grown-up babies of all ages using music, movement, psychology and personality tests to investigate how we advance from innocent toddler to grumpy teenager and kind, hardened adult and those times in life when we regress down the scale stamping our feet as we go.

    Co-directed by Jennifer Fletcher and Christopher Preece. Performed by Virginia Scudeletti and Christopher Preece. The Mostly Everything People.

  • The Internet Was Made For Adults

    Grasping the zeitgeist firmly by the horns, this is a show of laughter, live cabaret and some hard truths about what it can mean to be a woman in 2018—a "wickedly honest" story of sex and the Internet, exploring the disconnection in an increasingly connected world and the sexual taboos that make young women feel they are failing.

    Anna Girvan directs Krystal Dockery, Emily Francis, Fiona Jane and Georgina Strawson. Hitting the Wall Productions.

  • Father Of Lies

    Using photographs, letters and police reports uncovered during a year of research and investigation, Father of Lies is the chilling true story of a mysterious and unsolved murder in West Germany in 1973. Written and performed by Sasha Roberts and Tom Worsley. Directed by Stephen Sobal. Produced by Bête Noire Productions.

  • Revolution

    Exit Productions Ltd presents the return of its hit interactive gaming experience. An engaging way to interact around politics, the audience becomes the three rival factions in a London where the old political order no longer exists.

    Game by Kai Oliver. Joe Ball directs Peter Dewhurst, Lauren Gibson, Chris Neels, Clemency Thorburn.

  • Bump!

    A highly physical romantic comedy that starts with Eliana and Ian's inner thoughts each shared directly with the audience until they 'Bump!' and the ensuing dialogue combined with physical sequences act as a metaphor for colliding atoms, creating a unique concoction: a Rom-Com with quantum physics. Buckle Up Theatre.

In addition to live performances, there is roundtable on gender equality in theatre and the 2018 The VAULT New Writers Award. The programme also includes circus and magic events.

Running to 18 March, events take place in the multi-space Vaults as well as nearby Network Theatre, Waterloo East Theatre and Travelling Through Bookshop.

Check web site for venue, age suitability, performance dates and running times.

Once the shows are over, the fun continues with late-night parties including an anti-Valentine's ball, Mardi Gras spectacular, Burlesque lock in and I ♥ EU Silent Disco. Festival food is dished up by PopCo.