Home » London Theatre News » VAULT FESTIVAL announces arts debate with Harriet Harman and Ed Vaizey

VAULT FESTIVAL announces arts debate with Harriet Harman and Ed Vaizey

Vault Festival
VAULT Festival Credit Jack Abraham



VAULT, the six-week cultural festival in the labyrinthine tunnel network under Waterloo has announced that they will present a one-off, free panel debate on cultural policy and the future of the UK’s Arts industry ahead of the 2015 election on Sunday 8th February. Joining the panel will be prominent politicians, practitioners and cultural leaders including: Harriet Harman, QC MP, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Labour Party, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; Ed Vaizey, Minister of State, Culture Media and Sport and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Peter Whittle, Founder and Director of the New Culture Forum, UKIP Cultural Spokesperson and Martin Dobson, Green Party Cultural Spokesperson. ‘The Big Arts Debate’ will examine the current cultural climate, asking what’s next for the Arts and what can we expect after the 2015 election.

The event forms part of the multi-arts festival’s brand new programme of panel discussions, forums and debates which aim to open up vital conversations about the Arts, as well their place in society at large. The panels, all free to the public, feature some of the industry’s most authoritative voices and figures.

Following ‘The Big Arts Debate’, VAULT will host ‘Elephant in the Room: What is the social responsibility of the Arts’ on 28th February chaired by award-winning Associate Director of Leicester’s Curve, Suba Das. The panel will include: Matt Peacock, CEO, Streetwise Opera; Becky Warnock, Head of Arts, Only Connect; Dr Michael Pearce, Lecturer in Socially Engaged Theatre, University of Exeter; Anders Lustgarten, Playwright and Political Activist; Ellie Browning, Artistic Director of Every Day Productions and Creative Workshop Manager at IdeasTap and Miranda Keast, Capacity Building Worker, The Passage.

On 7th March for International Women’s Day, Baroness Genista McIntosh will chair a panel of 10 female forces in a range of non-performer creative roles across UK. ‘The Female Force Forum: The Future for Women in Theatre’ will debate gender equality, challenges and rewards. The panel will include: Vicky Graham, Producer at Out of Joint and Vicky Graham Productions; Mimi Poskitt, Artistic Director of Look Left Look Right; Hannah Price, Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Uncut and Freelance Theatre Director; Francesca Moody, Assistant Producer at Paines Plough; Joanna Scotcher, Theatre Designer; Clara Brennan, Playwright and Soho’s Channel 4 Playwright in Residence 2014; Sophie Parrott, Casting Director; Susie Newbery, Press Officer at The Royal National Theatre.

VAULT is a six-week cultural festival in Waterloo between 28th January – 8th March 2015. With more than 700 individual events and at least sixteen shows every evening, the line-up comprises of some of the most exciting emerging artists and companies in a programme of music, performance, dance, comedy, discussions, debates, one-off late night events as well as a pop-up restaurant with a difference, all taking place in a secret maze of underground tunnels behind a single door.

As well as the wide-ranging performance programme, gallery and Lates (until 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) on offer at VAULT, the Festival’s bar is open to the public until 11pm every night. Explorers can warm themselves with Adnams cask ale, a Meantime lager or Bermondsey gin. On Wednesdays and Sundays, Mercury Award Nominee Sam Lee & his Nest Collective present a programme of the very best of London’s folk music scene – for free.

VAULT 2015
The Vaults
Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN
Follow the festival on Twitter @vaultfestival

The Big Arts Debate: Cultural policy and the future for UK theatre and the arts
Sunday 8 February, 12 noon (1 hour 30 minutes)

Elephant in the room: What is the social responsibility of The Arts?
Saturday 28 February, 1:00pm (1 hour 30 minutes)

The Female Force Forum: The Future for Women in Theatre
Saturday 7 March, 1:30pm (1 hour 30 minutes)

Panellist Biographies
Martin Dobson is the Green Party’s spokesperson for culture, media and sports. He came to live in Liverpool Riverside 28 years ago. Originally he came to work for Oxfam as their full time Area Campaigns Organiser. Since then he has brought up his family while managing a voluntary rights organisation for people with learning disabilities. Martin has always been a musician – mostly as an amateur but in the early 1990s he was a professional touring Europe and North America with a Funky Jazzy Street Band called The Brasshoppers as well as touring as an on stage musician with a professional theatre group. He currently runs his own business developing easy web applications for people who are unable to read or write. Martin is the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Liverpool Riverside in the General Election.

Harriet Harman QC MP is Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and has served as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party since 2007 and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport since October 2011. She is also Chair of the Labour Party. When Labour entered government in 1997, Harriet was appointed Secretary of State for Social Security and Minister for Women. In 2001, Harriet was appointed Solicitor General. After the 2005 General Election, she was appointed Minister for Justice at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, she also served in Government as Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Equalities and Minister for Women, where she brought forward the Equality Bill, now the Equality Act. Prior to her appointment as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport she served as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. Harriet has represented the diverse inner-city constituency of Camberwell and Peckham in the London Borough of Southwark since 1982.

Ed Vaizey is a former barrister, director of a public relations company and writer. Ed was elected MP for Didcot and Wantage in 2005. In 2006 he was appointed Shadow Arts Minister, and in 2010 became the Minister for Culture Communications and the Creative Industries. In that role, Ed has been responsible for the roll out of the successful rural broadband programme, the introduction of 4G, and tax credits for film, television, animation and video games, which have made the creative industries the fastest growing part of our economy. In 2014, Ed was appointed Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy.

Peter Whittle is the Culture Spokesman for UKIP. An author and journalist, he is founder and director of the New Culture Forum think tank. He has written extensively on aspects of contemporary British culture. Whittle was previously a producer and director of arts and factual programming for TV networks here and in America, working extensively with ITV on the South Bank Show series. He has also covered the arts for numerous national and international publications, including the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun and the Los Angeles Times. He currently writes a column, Whittle’s London, for Standpoint magazine. For the past five years he has been the magazine’s film critic. He has appeared widely across the British media, including regular appearances on BBC Newsnight Review, The Review Show, Radio 4’s Moral Maze and Start the Week.

Thursday 5th February 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

    View all posts
Scroll to Top