The Vaults


Written by SM
09 Wednesday 09th April 2014

The Vaults is new a multi-disciplinary arts space located in London,somewhere near Waterloo station. According to them, It is "a place to be lost, a place to excellent movie that you have been swallowed by." Which sounds terrifying and exciting at the same time. 

The Vaults features 30,000 sqft of accessible, flexible and delectable Victorian brickwork fused with abandoned 70s office space, and, frankly, it looks like a great place to throw a party. As we're such huge fans of parties here at DP, we spoke to Kieron Vanstone -one of the guys behind the space- about the place, to find out a little more. Check it:

This looks more that just another art gallery, what else is going on at The Vaults?

This is quite a coincidental question. We’re actually about to open a new permanent gallery in the space. Having been open for 6 weeks during the Vault Festival it was such a great shame to close the doors to the community of Leake Street once again, as we didn’t typically open unless for a specific event. We came up with the idea to open a permanent gallery space, utilising what was traditionally wasted storage space. The gallery will be an opportunity for the public to come into the building 11-7pm, Tuesday - Saturday. With this in mind, our mission is to work with our surrounding communities, businesses and landlords to stay open as long as we can, stuffing The Vaults with as many unpredictable happenings as possible. In terms of our artistic vision, the best association we can draw is with that feeling you have when watching a kick-ass movie that you want to go on and on.
What made you put the whole thing together?
A few things: necessity, there is a huge desire for these kinds of spaces across the city, opening up opportunities for makers and creators to bring grimey joy to London. Money, I didn’t have a job at the time as The Old Vic Tunnels was closing. Over-working, I love doing that. Opportunity, I tend to pounce on opportunities when they arise and this one was a series of coincidences that came at the same time.
How has the journey been so far? 
An excellent roller-coaster. Getting the doors open wouldn’t have been possible without the help of friends, so the journey has very much been a family journey.
How did you manage to blag such a big space? 
The discovery of the space had a lot to do with The Old Vic Tunnels. Having worked there for nearly 3 years, I had developed relationships with landlords, local councils etc and from there I made tentative steps to get her open. There’s another series of arches on Union Street that are currently up for Let, really great space.
Has it been occupied before? 
Yes, The Old Vic Tunnels developed shows there for a 6 month period, hosting the Vault Festival 2012. Before that, Punchdrunk hosted a couple of excellent shows. Before that the space was an archive record store for Network Rail.
30.000 square feet seems like enough space to develop a number of different projects... 
30,000 sq/ft and expanding. There’s an unbelievable amount of space underneath Waterloo station and we’re currently looking at moving our Zombie Blitz show to an undiscovered, never been seen, area underneath the concourse. We’re also looking at hosting street party events and a new market on Leake Street, the graffiti tunnel. And finally, our next big project will be to open a new 184 capacity seated theatre space that will operate independently from the main space, allowing us to have underground theatre running 365 days a year.
Who's part of The Vaults team? 
Really there’s a huge number of people involved working on bars, box office, stage door etc. Our first member of permanent staff started last month - Emma Escurier, our General Manager, and last week Hayley Haynes, our Gallery Curator started.
The decor of The Vaults makes you feel that you're travelling through a parallel universe - are there still some original features left of the building?
Yes, the walls in some of the spaces haven’t been touched since there original construction (roughly 1848). For each event we strip the decor out ready to switch the space around again for the next show. Our next event won’t be a parallel universe as such, instead we’ll be going for the time tunnel effect.

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