Guest blog: David Byrne on New Diorama’s Takeover of VAULT Festival

David Byrne is the Artistic & Executive Director of the New Diorama Theatre.
For a chance to win tickets to ALL the shows in the NDT Takeover, see below!

I love VAULT Festival.

You get all the buzz, excitement and great theatre of going to the Edinburgh Fringe, but you get to sleep in your own bed, all your houseplants don’t die from neglect and, at the end of the month, you’re not left with a lot of bank notes that no English shops will accept.

As an Artistic Director, it’s incredible – you get to see so much great, new work in such a short space of time. For anyone who’s programming a venue, it’s like being locked in a sweet shop.

But, for 2019, we at New Diorama wanted to do more than just come and see shows. So we plotted with the amazing team at VAULT Festival to host the first ever New Diorama VAULT Takeover, bringing some of our biggest hit shows underground for the first time.

We’ve worked hard to make sure the line-up is the best it can be, and we’ve managed to programme some of the very best companies from across the UK. We can’t wait to share these award-winning productions with you: the hungry and curious audiences that inhabit the warren of underground tunnels during the VAULT Festival.

The NDT/VAULT Takeover shows that we’ve selected for 2019 are:


30 Jan – 3 Feb, 18:30

Originally commissioned by New Diorama and 2017 Hull City of Culture, this multi-award winning musical from Silent Uproar is written by Olivier Award-winner Jon Brittian (Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho & Rotterdam) and Freaky and Manish super-star Matthew Floyd Jones. It’s original run at the Edinburgh Festival was a smash hit, selling-out every single seat and winning a Fringe First

★★★★★ “You’ll be hard-pushed to find a better musical” WhatsOnStage


30 Jan – 3 Feb, 20:00

Originally part of New Diorama and Underbelly’s Untapped Award, Nouveau Riche’s Queens of Sheba is a whirlwind hit of a show, performed, sung and danced by four black women – telling their own stories of misogynoir (where sexism and racism meet). I was blown away when I first saw the show – it’s one of those examples of watching pure talent just fill the stage. They won The Stage Acting Award this Edinburgh – and you’ll see why when you see the show!

★★★★ “Nouveau Riché’s pared-back piece has insight, power and beautiful a cappella singing” The Guardian


30 Jan – 3 Feb, 21:15

Our late show is truly unmissable, comedy-horror troupe Kill The Beast transfer their hit show DIRECTOR’S CUT to London for its first proper run. Located on a haunted film set in the 1970s, this show has it all – ghosts, musical numbers and more wigs than an Acorn Antiques fan convention.

★★★★ “Majestically daft and incredibly funny” The Stage


Thurs 31st Jan – Fri 1st Feb, 22:45

Due to popular demand, having stormed the world – from Australia, to South Africa, from Off-Broadway to China, the Police Cops are back in London with their original show. For two nights only you can see this award-winning show, with some of the best facial hair on the London stage.

★★★★★ “unbeatable physical cop parody” The Stage


Wed 13th – Sun 17th March, 19:00

We’ve been looking for a reason to revive this incredible production. It’s one of my all time favourites, and Christopher Hughes performance at Tom Ripley is astonishing. It’s also one of director Mark Leipacher’s best adaptations. It’s an action packed, murderous thriller that sprawls across sun-drenched 1950s Europe. If you missed it the first time, you’ve got to see this production.

★★★★“Christopher Hughes as Tom Ripley is astonishing. Mercurial, nerdy, desperate and yet strangely likeable, you can’t take your eyes off him.” The Stage

To celebrate this line-up of amazing theatre-makers, we’re running a contest especially for Stagedoor readers. We’ve got two NDT/VAULT Festival Takeover passes – giving you free tickets to all five of the show. All you’ve got to do to enter is retweet this tweet about the Takeover and we’ll randomly select the winners.

With almost a week to go until the Takeover begins, we can’t wait to welcome you Underground for some unforgettable nights at the theatre…