It’s back and bolder than ever – VAULT Festival 2018, running until 18 March 2018. Theatre editor Daniel Perks catches up with writer A.C. Smith & composer Bella Barlow, bringing Lock And Key to this year’s festival:

VAULT Festival 2018 – it was one of my Theatre Picks to kick off the year. It’s London’s biggest arts festival, taking place in a series of subterranean tunnels beneath Waterloo station, as well as expanding into the nearby Waterloo East Theatre and Network Theatre. Now in its sixth year, it promises to be an eight-week cultural nerve centre, inviting audiences to over 300 shows.

Here at Miro Magazine, we are incredibly excited by the biggest offering that The Vaults has ever seen – we have already picked our top shows that should not be missed! Throughout the festival, we will be profiling some of the shows playing this year – getting to know the theatre companies and performers that are bringing work to London’s version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Lock And Key, which plays VAULT Festival from 14 – 18 March 2018. I caught up with composer Bella Barlow and writer A.C. Smith:

Describe Lock And Key in three words.

Feminist Musical Thriller.

Is this your first VAULT Festival performance experience?

Yes – we are so excited to be part of VAULT. There are so many incredible creative people and projects involved, and the festival has such a great energy.  The team behind VAULT really go above and beyond to make it a great experience for the people bringing shows.  Right now we’re living in a place of excited (and slightly nervous) anticipation!

Vault Festival 2018 Lock Key

Bella Barlow & A.C. Smith

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the VAULT Festival?

There’s been loads of brilliant stuff on already, but in the next few weeks we’re really looking forward to Glitter Punch (the actress Em Stott was in a reading of a play from our bookwriter through the Women@RADA initiative), Dirty Little Machine directed by the brilliant Roxy Cook, and for those who like musicals, directly following our show is Freud: The Musical from Natasha Sutton Williams which we think looks great.

Who or what are your inspirations?

For us, working in a partnership is a huge asset. While we both also write as individuals, the support of creating together as a musical writing team means there’s always someone there to bounce ideas off, to go to for support when things are feeling tough, and to just enjoy a cup of tea and a laugh!

We also think it’s a really exciting time to be women working in musical theatre. There are so many great emerging voices and you can feel the growing enthusiasm to expand the definition of what a musical can look like. We love feeling like even though we’re writing as just one team, we’re also part of something bigger.

Vault Festival 2018 Lock Key

Evelyn Hoskins & Tiffany Graves

What are the future plans for Lock And Key?

West End Transfer. We’ll leave Broadway until next year!

What is the best production you have seen in the last 12 months?

We loved ROOM at Theatre Royal Stratford East. This was a story that had already existed in book form and as an award-winning film, but they found a way to make it feel so fresh and theatrical. The show was completely brilliant and kept you riding every emotional wave with the characters. And while it feels silly that in 2018 this should be remarkable, the fact that the lead cast of the stage show was mixed race felt like it opened possibilities for so many more people to imagine themselves into the story – much in the same way the Harry Potter universe grew and expanded with the brilliant casting of Noma Dumezweni in the West End play.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about Lock And Key?

This isn’t your grandmother’s musical theatre.  This show is great for anyone who has had to work for a boss they hate. We don’t shy away from the darker and more absurd areas – we’ve even got a song called ‘Karoshi’ – named after the Japanese word for working yourself to death.  We can promise some big laughs – and some proper horror jumps! You’ll never look at a filing cabinet the same way again…


Book & Lyrics: A.C. Smith

Composer: Bella Barlow

Director: Adam Lenson; Tamara Saringer (musical director)

Producer: Warehouse Musical Productions

Design: Alice Simonato; Richard Williamson (lighting)

Cast: Tiffany Graves; Evelyn Hoskins

Lock And Key plays as part of VAULT Festival 2018 from 14 – 18 March 2018. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.