Mini VAULT Festival: we chat to the programmers

Rosie and Lara run Mini VAULTa family festival for children under 11, based in the caves and caverns under Waterloo Station. As Mini VAULT gets closer, opening at the end of January and running until the beginning of March, we chat to Rosie and Lara about programming the festival and what they’re most looking forward to.

VAULT is going into its fourth year. Can you tell us about the history of Mini VAULT?

Mini VAULT was established last year in 2015, as the first event for children to be held in the venue. We’ve always loved VAULT festival and thought the magical maze of caves and caverns would be a perfect destination for families.

This year’s Mini VAULT includes circus, comedy, poetry, parties, music, workshops and interactive theatre (plus a lot more!). How do you put together such an eclectic mix of events?

We wanted to create a programme which echoed the incredible diversity of VAULT (senior!), and really can offer something for everyone. Over the year we have seen shows from all around the world, and have been lucky to have met, and be working with, so many phenomenal artists. This year we are keen to ensure that over half of the programme is interactive, from magic workshops to interactive beatbox performances, encouraging participation from even our smallest audience members.

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What are some of the highlights that you are most looking forward to?

The dazzling Pirates of the Carabina launch the festival again this year (30 January), with some awe-inspiring (and free) circus. We are looking forward to all the shows, but Trygve Wakenshaw’s A Pony For Your Thoughts particularly stands out (13/14 February) as this incredible physical comedian’s first show for children, and our first show commission (from Mini Works). Our programme this year includes, for the first time, events for the very young, with dance show Puzzle from Lithuania to delight under 3s. And of course, we are looking forward to the parties (6 Feb & 5 March), closing the festival with Mini Rumpus, a non-stop, tip-top, over-the-top, animalistic, carnivalistic party extravaganza for under 11’s and their adults!

The festival is nearly here, I imagine you’re very busy: how do you spend the days running up to and during Mini VAULT ?

It is a great combination of buying balloons and more serious spreadsheets and number crunching. We do a lot of running around during the actual festival days, but a lot of dancing too, with a great line-up of bands this year, from the jazzy Le Bistrotet to the Arabic shamstep 47SOUL.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 21.22.46.pngAside from being aimed at younger audiences, what are the main differences between VAULT and Mini VAULT? Are your aims and mission as a festival fairly similar?

Both share a real multi-arts festival experience and emphasis on fun, but for different audiences. VAULT’s mission is to be the ‘People’s festival’ and also to reinvent the non-funded sector, making it sustainable for the next generation of creators. Mini VAULT’s main mission is to develop bolder, more imaginative, alternative work for families.

What do you think sets Mini VAULT apart from other festivals?

Our fantastic underground venue in the tunnels under Waterloo station. Also we are interested in more unusual work for families; many of the companies and artists we work with haven’t made work for this audience before, so their approach is fresh, dynamic and non-patronising.

Why is it important to offer festivals for children as well as for adults?

It is amazing to have a festival experience for the whole family to enjoy. Mini VAULT caters for all ages,with a high-quality arts offer which might resonate on different levels depending on age, but has a universal appeal.

We hope to see you underground!

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