Extinction Rebellion comes to VAULT Festival as part of a packed programme of climate-related shows - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion comes to VAULT Festival as part of a packed programme of climate-related shows

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  • VAULT Festival returns from Tue 28 Jan – 22 Mar, when they will be joined by Extinction Rebellion with an enormous focus on eco shows plays, talks and events. 
  • Extinction Rebellion’s presence at VAULT festival includes a late-night multimedia experiential party event, a series of talks, podcast recordings, panel discussions and rehearsed readings on the climate and ecological emergency.
  • Together with representatives from Culture Declares Emergency and Music Declares Emergency, Extinction Rebellion will host a late-night immersive party, Extinction Underground, taking over the venue with 80+ artists including award-winning Foals keyboardist Edwin Congreave.
  • Many companies are bringing sustainable theatre practices into their 2020 VAULT offerings, including PearShaped Theatre, Long Distance Theatre and Pigfoot Theatre – the recipient of the inaugural Staging Change VAULT Festival Award, whose lighting is powered by a bicycle cycled live on stage.

From Tuesday 28th January to 22nd March, London’s biggest, boldest and wildest arts festival – VAULT Festival – returns with an enormous focus on eco shows, plays, talks and events. 

As part of their recognition of a Climate & Ecological Emergency, VAULT Festival has made steps to further improve their commitment to sustainability.

Extinction Rebellion join the festival with a late-night multimedia experiential party event, a series of talks, podcast recordings, panel discussions and rehearsed readings on the climate and ecological emergency, with a focus on decolonisation and climate justice. Extinction Rebellion, Restless Development and Staging Change will partner with VAULT Festival for a new ‘Time for Change’ venue, an installation open throughout the festival to inspire festival goers to demand change for people and the planet.

Other movements and artists adding their voice to the environmental programme include Culture Declares Emergency, Music Declares Emergency, activist Tamsin Omond, UCL environmental policy researcher and comedian Dr Matt Winning, and Brainchild Festival.

Andy George and Mat Burtcher, Co-Founders of VAULT Festival, said We are living in a time of crisis. There is great, impossible-to-ignore change needed everywhere. We’re confronting, at last, the stark fact that humankind is making its home uninhabitable at a rate we hadn’t imagined twenty years ago. Which is why we’re supporting the wider climate movement by recognising a climate & ecological emergency and taking immediate action combined with longer term planning.”

Kay Michael, Co-Founder of Culture Declares Emergency, said2020 is the year of action. We’re excited to host Extinction Underground at VAULT Festival – a celebration of the many artists and movements responding to the climate and ecological emergency. We invite everyone to get involved; to come together and build the world we know is possible. We have over 80 artists involved, including circus, dance, headlining music acts, cabaret and short films. It’s an evening not to be missed.”

Lorenzo Belenguer, Extinction Rebellion Arts & Culture Media coordinator, said “We are facing a major threat to mankind and artists are responding to this emergency in very imaginative ways. Extinction Rebellion is the inspiration to the biggest Art movement in the history of humanity not seen since the 60s, when many influential movements like Minimalism, Conceptualism, Land Art, etc, blossomed. XR is present in almost 200 countries and this Festival is an introduction to understand this historical moment.”

This is a Climate and Ecological Emergency and the artists are on it.

A selection of the most talented rebel artists and eco-warriors have joined forces with the VAULT festival for their 2020 festival. Below are the many creative ways they are responding to this emergency.

Extinction Underground, Saturday 22nd Feb 22.30 – 03.00

An interactive and immersive late night underground playground celebrating and showcasing the unstoppable creativity and community of Extinction Rebellion and the wider climate movement.

Beneath the streets of London over 80 artists, performers, radicals, headlining music acts, luminaries and gardeners of the human spirit will come together with vital acts of co-creation, artistic expression, connection to the planet and one another: acts of celebration, grief, love, transformation and resilience.

Dance, play, create and discover first hand the booming community behind the disruptive actions that draw attention to the climate and ecological emergency, and how artists and rebels are responding to our unprecedented times. 

Tickets £10, with the option to make a donation to Extinction Rebellion when booking.

Book here: https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/extinction-underground/

Decolonise! Decarbonise: XR Talks and Mixed Bill programme

A series of talks, panels, podcast recordings and readings of new short plays on the climate and ecological emergency, with a focus on decolonisation and climate justice.

Here in the UK we are starting to see what many in the Global South have been experiencing for years: floods, wildfires, crop failures, loss of homes, loss of lives.

Why has it taken so long for people to wake up to the emergency, and why are so many still asleep?

Are XR activists only in it to save their own cherubic grandchildren? What do we mean when we chant ‘Climate Justice Now’? What is our vision for a better society and how can we build it if we close our eyes to structural injustice?


Sunday 9th Feb, 3pm – Heading for Extinction. The classic XR talk, heard across the world, that shares the latest climate science, discusses some of the current psychology around climate change and offers solutions through the study of social movements. Delivered by a special guest.

Sunday 16th February, 3pm – Discussing the IPCC Report

Sunday 23rd Feb, 3pm – Decoloniality and Rewilding the Psyche with Mothiur Raman

Sunday 1st March, 3pm – XR Podcast Live Recording – interview with special guest

Sunday 8 Mar, 3pm – Ecocide (details tbc)

Sunday 15th Mar, 3pm – Rebellion – this talk takes a wide angle view on the protests of 2019 and links up with the artists of HK protest show Freedom Hi to compare experiences. . 

Sunday 22nd Mar, 3pm – Climate Emergency, Global Justice and Legitimacy with David Cross, artist in residence at UAL, leading on programme to decolonise and decarbonise the university. 

Free booking for the talks here:https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/xr-talks/


Sunday 16th Feb 3-4pm ‘Lovebombing’ the Police: how it feels when we hear you singing police praises – panel discussion, chaired by Daze Aghaji from XR Youth

Sunday 16th Feb 4.30-5.30pm Climate Justice: what does it mean and how do we achieve it? – panel discussion organized by XR Global Justice

Saturday 29th Feb 3-4pm What about China? – Mixed bill: talks, discussion, and short play readings on sinophobia, consumerism and carbon outsourcing with Bec Boey (Jade Dragon), Siu See Hung, Dr Sam Geall and Nuala Lam.

Sunday 1st Mar 3-4pm Rehearsed staged readings of new plays on climate by exciting playwrights from marginalised backgrounds – curated by award-winning playwright Jasmine Lee-Jones (Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner)

Sunday 1st Mar 4.30-5.30pm Engaging marginalised communities: what stories should XR be telling? Panel discussion featuring playwrights from the previous session, chaired by Bec Boey

Free booking for mixed bill programme here: https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/xr-decolonialise-decarbonise/

VAULT Festival will also feature further climate-related programming:

This Bitch Can Heal:

It’s the hottest summer on record. Jack is pedalling fast to join Extinction Rebellion protests that have taken over the city and captured the world’s imagination. This is the movement they have been waiting for and they’re going to give it everything they’ve got.

Listings info: 28 Jan, 29 Jan, 30 Jan, 18:00

Contact: tamsinomond@gmail.com / @pinksplatprodu1

“I wrote This Bitch Can Heal after crashing out of the April Rebellion. I’d been organising the Marble Arch site and I watched a lot of people give everything – time, hope, so much effort and love.  We created magic for over ten days but then it was over, and people emerged from the small Extinction Rebellion universes we had created into the real world – a world that is changing – but is still in no way ready for the level of change that is going to be inevitable as our world, our planet, our environments transform. That’s the journey that Jack is on.”

Tamsin Omond, actress, author and environmental activist, who wrote and act on the monologue This Bitch Can Heal,

Two Super Super Hot Men:

‘Two Super Super Hot Men’ is a new show by comedy clowns, ‘Alan and Ron’. In the show, two hapless clowns try to soundtrack a climate documentary while coming face-to-face with ecological crisis, something they have never comprehended fully. As their world becomes increasingly surreal, and their methods of creating sound follow suit, the audience are taken on an audio journey. The characters’ refusal to change becomes harder to enact, and increasingly hilarious. Alan and Ron is a new comedy theatre duo made up of Alice Boyd and Rosa Garland, members of the award-winning company Poltergeist.

Listings info: 13 Mar, 14 Mar, 18:00

Contact: info@stagingchange.com / @alanandron

Matt Winning: It’s the End of the World as We Know It:

A comedy lecture about how we cope with climate change and what we can do about it, from the ‘attractively impish’ (Guardian) UCL environmental policy researcher and comedian Dr Matt Winning. The world as we know it is coming to an end regardless of whether we want it to or not. Matt explores what that means and considers what it must be like being a teenager nowadays compared to when he was young. As seen/heard on Unspun with Matt Forde, BBC Three, BBC Radio 4, BBC Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland and his podcast Operation Earth where he interviews comedians about climate change. Matt beings his third full show about climate change to VAULT Festival, which marks the start of his 2020 UK tour.

Listing info: 21 Feb, 22 Feb, 23 Feb, 19:20

Contact: mattywin@hotmail.com / @mattywin85

Brainchild Presents Let Me Be Your Plantasy:

At long last, plant-life is re-claiming and re-wilding Planet Earth. Houseplants are freeing themselves from our pots, miniature cacti are smashing through Urban Outfitters windows, and trees are regally re-seating themselves as the worlds’ masters. Human time is suspended and economic myths collapse at the roots of exponential plant-growth. We, the remaining earth-dwellers, must do the same: break free and re-wild ourselves for an epic celebration of plant-life with immersive artworks, music, comedy and dancing. This is an immersive all-night party, brought to life by two brilliant illustrators & artists Molly Smith (installation) and Alice Bloomfield (video). Stay tuned for announcements, and rest assured that this is will be the party of your wildest plantasies.

Listings info: 21 Mar, 22:30

Contact: india@brainchildfestival.co.uk / @BrainchildFest

How To Save A Rock:

How To Save A Rock is a multi award-winning climate-change musical comedy about how to still have hope, powered by a bicycle cycled live on stage. For kids and adults alike. Our production is entirely carbon-neutral, meaning our lighting is powered by a bicycle cycled live on stage and by solar-power, our music created live from found objects, and our production materials recycled and recyclable. Pigfoot’s pressing and optimistic How To Save A Rock now heads to VAULT Festival 2020, as the recipient of the inaugural Staging Change VAULT Festival Award.

Listings info: 18 – 23 Feb, 18:00

Contact: production@pigfoottheatre.com / @pigfoottheatre

In My Lungs The Ocean Swells:

The ocean is at the centre of all life. But especially for Julie and Simon, who have grown up with salt seeping into their bloodstream, their childhoods tangled up with the Cornish Coast. And the sea has always been there, sustaining generations of their families. But as adulthood looms on the horizon, and climate and ecological crisis shake the globe, Julie begins to dream of a life lived inland among the bright lights of the city, and Simon’s nets keep coming back empty. Set amidst the decline of the British Fishing Industry, In My Lungs the Ocean Swells is a coming-of-age story, about holding on to who you think you are, in a world that is trying its best to shake that from your grasp.

Listings info: 04 – 09 Feb, 19:50

Contact: mayacamilleellis@gmail.com / @nmsuperheroes

small myth: work in progress:

Before, Katherine climbed Mount Everest. Now, her daughter dreams of droughts, tsunamis and wildfires. Katherine left her daughter to conquer a mountain. Her tales of nearly touching the stars became Kate’s bedtime stories. Higher, further, beyond. Now it’s time for Kate to climb her own mountain. A flight to Nepal will melt 8.7 square meters of Arctic ice, and she’s crying in the juice aisle about buying single use plastic. Blending movement, text & music, this work in progress examines a mother and daughter’s stories unravelling in the face of climate crisis, and what might blossom in their place.

Listings info: 18 Feb, 19 Feb, 20 Feb, 18:10

Contact: eveallin@hotmail.com / @EveAllin and @holbolrob


At London’s biggest arts festival in the Waterloo tunnels, a new play, Omelette, explores the growing mental health issue of ‘climate anxiety’ faced by a young couple. The creative team have committed to producing the show as sustainably as possible. Writer and actor Anna Spearpoint, who recently wrote the Theatre 503 Pantomime, said “the show is about the pressure to do the right thing all the time. A young couple, Mia and Mo, navigate their relationship as the climate crisis deepens. Should they keep protesting and go hungry, or give up and eat the goldfish?”. All set, props and costume are upcycled, recycled or second hand – and everything will be fully reusable or recyclable at the end of the show. The production team have also decided to avoid printing flyers or posters to promote the show, and will track their carbon footprints for the duration of the production.

Listings info: 18-23 Feb, 19:50

Contact: tpmb22@gmail.com / @omeletteplay

Paper Straws:

Sea levels are rising. Wildlife is becoming extinct. We’re drowning in plastic. But everyone is using Paper Straws, isn’t that something? Taking place in changing time frames, we follow the lives of three people brought up through the ‘life raft’ system – a scheme that re-homes children from places deemed unlivable because of the changing climate. Each now in their adult lives and with different relationships to the climate and how it’s changed who they are, they get a calling: it’s time to step up and do something. Part surreal comedy, part family drama set against the backdrop of our looming climate catastrophe, the characters are forced to decide ‘how far would you go to save the world’? 

Paper Straws is an experiment in sustainable theatre-making, from the rehearsal room to the stage. This performance is a Work In Progress.

Listings info: 21 – 23 Feb 18:20 & 23 Feb 15:20

Contact: shapedpear@gmail.com / @pearshapedplays

In Our Bones:

“We wander the sunset plains, like nomads awaiting the rains”. Three musicians and a painter imagine an astonishing and beautiful vision of hope in ecological crisis. Processed through formulae and machine, set free in imagination and music, Diniwe and the Hadedas explode a single poem by Don Paterson in a song-cycle that speaks of migration, landscape, roots, heritage and home. A multimedia collaboration collaging voices, song, poetry and paint, calling for action on the most pressing issue in the last ten million years. Profound, ridiculous and beautiful. “Tell us who we once were, we are not afraid of ourselves.”

Listings info: 03 Mar, 04 Mar, 05 Mar, 18:15

Contact: @diniweandthehadedas


A devastating rise in sea levels has flooded out communities worldwide…but we’re still alright. Unprecedented numbers of displaced people are taking to the seas in hope of finding a new home… which is fine, as long as it’s not ours. Forest fires are burning in Portugal… but that’s still far away enough, just about. It’s 2049 and the world is struggling with climate change. Humans are taking steps to stem the tide; making veganism law, fossil fuels illegal and eradicating single use plastics. But these efforts seem futile and, in London, people are disappearing. In a little corner of the city we find Hanna, whose new friends and their never-ending supply of meat seem too good to be true.

Listings info: 13 Mar, 14 Mar, 15 Mar, 19:20

Contact: francesevalea@gmail.com

Bourne (work in progress):

Bourne is a new play that explores the moral suburbia of climate crisis and the destabilising effect it might have on the most mundane of marriages. Ben and Nicole live in the UK. They have everything they want – a nice house, good jobs and a steady marriage. However, a chance encounter confronts them with an ominous question: is it selfish to start a family in a world that’s beset by climate crisis?

Listings info: 14 Mar, 15 Mar, 16:30

Contact: doubleyellowtheatre@gmail.com / @double__yellow

This Is How Water Loves:

This Is How Water Loves sits on the spectrum of theatre and performance, blurring the boundaries between task-based activities, dynamic choreography, delicate moments of humour and intimate sequences. We are passionate about ecology but paralysed by the guilt-ridden rhetoric. We are not eco-warriors. We are not anti-plastic activists. Instead we demonstrate a playful and curious approach to ecology and interconnectedness which embraces ambiguity. Ecology, pollution, embodiment, and environmental disaster are all feminist questions and are intertwined with each other. Hydrofeminism is an ecological concern, drawing attention to the potentials that arise from the blurring of distinctions between human and non-human. Coined by academic Astrida Neimanis, Hydrofeminism is transnational, trans-species and trans-corporal; emphasising a sense of collectivism and unity. Our aim is to embrace “the quivering tension of the in-between”. The all-female ensemble clean, dry, drink and drown, further complicating the pre-existing narratives surrounding ecology and climate change. Water is spat, mopped and boiled during the course of the performance.

Listings info: 14 Mar, 16:50

Contact: hysteriastays@outlook.com / @HysteriaStays

When The Sea Swallows Us Whole:

A queer love story glittering amidst the debris of erosion. In a town on the East coast, the tide whips away harder and faster every day.  Some people have just months – maybe even weeks – before they lose their homes to the ocean. Mila is trying to decipher why her mum has packed up and left while her best friend Doll entertains his obsession with wild cats. It’s bleak but fine, until the arrival of city girl Posy. Mila knows that now is not the time to play fast and loose with the will of God, which is absolutely fine because she is definitely not in love with the new girl. Stuck between the unforgiving sea and a community that runs on gossip and fear mongering, the play explores societal pressures on young people in the LGBTQ+ community and the heartbreak of living in a coastal town that is being torn apart by a climate emergency.

Listings info: 05 Feb, 07 Feb, 09 Feb, 18:00

Contact: vivienne.egan@gmail.com / @seaswallowsplay

VAULT Festival’s Commitment to an Environmentally Sustainable Industry:

VAULT Festival is committed to and actively working towards an environmentally sustainable industry. They understand that the event they manage has an environmental, social, and economic impact. Therefore, they’re committed to the development, implementation and continual improvement of a sustainable event management system to minimise any negative impacts of our operations. Therefore, they’ve made steps to further improve their commitment to sustainability and they have outlined below how you can do the same. 

What does VAULT Festival do?  

  • They recycle their waste – their waste service company (First Mile) have a 0% landfill policy.
  • They operate paperless tickets and encourage audiences not to print their tickets and use e-tickets instead.
  • All of their print that they produce (i.e. posters, flyers, and brochures) is printed in an environmentally sustainable way from suppliers who declare their environmental policies. Either choosing a carbon positive printer, printing on paper that is FSC certified, uncoated, recyclable, or from recycled sources and printing with inks that are alcohol and VOC free.
  • They utilise reusable cups at all their bars.
  • They use biodegradable food packaging and cutlery at all their food outlets
  • They don’t stock straws or stirrers at their bars (paper straws are available upon request for access requirements)
  • They spec mostly LED Lighting rigs to reduce power consumption.
  • They encourage festival attendees to travel by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. 
  • They encourage companies to take on similar policies and approaches to your work.

What do they ask their Visiting Companies to do? 

  • Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. Click here for more information.  
  • All print materials (flyers and posters) should be printed in an environmentally sustainable way. Either choosing a carbon positive printer, printing on paper that is FSC certified, uncoated, recyclable, or from recycled sources and printing with inks that are alcohol and VOC free.
  • They only allow 200 flyers and 10 posters per company to be distributed onsite by the VAULT Festival team.
  • Encourage audiences to take a photo of a flyer instead of taking the flyer with them by including a ‘Photo Me’ or ‘Take a Photo’ logo. 
  • Any distribution of printed materials onsite must be active ‘person-to-person engagement’ – no ‘flat surface flyering’ is permitted (leaving flyers on tables, shelves, bars throughout the venue). Any flyers left on tables or surfaces will be removed. 
  • Include the relevant sustainability logo on your printed materials. Eg. If their flyers are printed on paper from sustainable forests, include the FSC logo. If their flyers can be recycled, include a ‘Recycle Me’ logo.
  • Collect and recycle any unused flyers, posters, or leaflets when they are finished with them.
  • Plan your get out and dispose of their waste responsibly; recycling, reusing, or repurposing wherever possible.
  • Avoid single use plastics and materials.
  • Any glitter / ticker tape used should be biodegradable.
  • Travel in an eco-friendly way – share vans for transporting set where possible.


WHAT: VAULT Festival 2020 

WHERE: The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN and other venues in Waterloo

OPENING HOURS: Daily. Please check specific events.

PHONE: 0208 050 9241 between 11am and 4pm, Monday – Friday

EMAIL: boxoffice@vaultfestival.com

WEBSITE: www.vaultfestival.com 

Link to IMAGES


Kay Michael –  Co-Producer Extinction Underground and Co-Founder Culture Declares Emergency – kay.s.michael@googlemail.com – 07814919928

Lorenzo Belenguer – XR Arts & Culture Media coordinator – Lorenzo.Belenguer.XR@protonmail.com – 07731425077


Kay Michael –  Letters to the Earth and Culture Declares Emergency – kay.s.michael@googlemail.com – 07814919928

Tamsin Omond – Extinction Rebellion and author and actress at This Bitch can Heal – tamsinomond@gmail.com 

John Farndon – Extinction Rebellion Earth Ensemble – jfarndon@dircon.co.uk – 07792020165



Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.


VAULT Festival is London and the UK’s biggest, boldest and wildest curated arts and entertainment festival, hosting hundreds of events each year across Waterloo. In 2019, VAULT Festival showcased 428 different shows from more than 2,000 artists, featuring the best and most exciting theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties and more, and saw over 79,000 audience members come through its doors.

Mission Statement: 

  • To fill and expand our cultural imaginations, and encourage everyone to fill their lives with creativity, adventure, and inspiration. 
  • To create the most accessible platform for creators to innovate, collaborate, explore and achieve and through which audiences can discover the bravest and boldest artistry. 
  • To fulfil equally the interests of our four participant groups; the visiting companies, the audience, our staff, and our collaborators. We will create the opportunity of most value for all four groups and champion their involvement. 
  • To create an ever-improving platform and industry where artists, audiences, and staff are respected, supported and championed in a fully inclusive, supportive, and diverse community.



Culture Declares Emergency is a growing global community of arts and culture champions declaring a climate and ecological emergency, launched in April 2019. The crisis compels us to imagine new possibilities and to propose systemic change. Over 760 individuals and organisations have declared to this date – now including VAULT Festival.

www.culturedeclaress.org / @CultureDeclares / @CultureDeclares


Music Declares Emergency (MDE) is a group of artists, music industry professionals and organisations. We believe that music, musicians and music businesses, through their unique cultural and economic power, can lead the way in demanding the systemic changes required to secure all life on earth. We call on all those within the industry to join us in declaring a climate emergency and to work towards making the cultural and operational changes necessary to contribute towards a carbon neutral future.

MDE represents all areas of the music industry irrespective of genre, role, gender, race or sexuality and is led by individuals united by a deep concern for the climate and ecological emergency we currently face. MDE is an independent group that includes individuals who have been directly inspired by, or involved in, Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Culture Declares Emergency, as well as members of leading music and environmental charity, Julie’s Bicycle and other music industry professionals. MDE is a democratically led organisation run by volunteers. Anyone in the industry can get involved.

http://www.musicdeclares.net / @musicdeclareswww.musicdeclares.net / @musicdeclares


Restless Development trains and supports young people around the world who are ending poverty, inequality, and fighting injustice. Together with VAULT Festival they want to inspire festival goers to demand change for people and for the planet. The Time For Change space will feature installations and activations around actively changing the world we live in, for the better. There will also be Restless Development Q&As and Special Guest Events featured in our programme (more info coming soon).

http://www.restlessdevelopment.org / @RestlessDev 


Staging Change is an artist-led organisation which engages theatre makers, venues and arts organisations, and supports them to respond to the climate crisis. They are working with VAULT Festival to offer resources and workshops for festival participants about making shows while being environmentally sustainable. They are also working with climate change design duo Adapt to create an interactive installation, which will be presented at the festival from the 17th February until the 22nd March.

www.stagingchange.com / @stagingchange 

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