It’s back and bolder than ever – VAULT Festival 2018, running until 18 March 2018. Theatre editor Daniel Perks catches up with writer Neela Doležalová, bringing The Talk 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.

Last up in our Spotlight feature is The Talk, which plays VAULT Festival from 15 – 16 March 2018. I caught up with writer Neela Doležalová:

Describe The Talk in three words.

Headphone verbatim rollercoaster.

Is this your first VAULT Festival performance experience?

It’s my first VAULT Festival. But some of the cast have performed before, so know the ropes! I am somewhat in awe of how many shows VAULT Festival manages to host in eight weeks. The festival is a well-oiled machine, run by an incredible team. They may be paddling like crazy underneath, but they certainly look like swans! I’m between headless chicken and swan right now.

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

It’s the last week of the festival and I’m keen to see Ladylike by Ella Mesma Company, A Girl and a Gun’ by Louise Orwin, and all the plays in the VAULT New Writers Award Showcase run by Camilla Whitehill.

Who or what are your inspirations?

Being a Maths teacher and form tutor motivated me to create The Talk. The young men and women I taught, and the state of English sex education, inspired me to write this play!

What are the future plans for The Talk?

The dream is to change sex ed in England by getting everyone to talk more about sexual health and identity. We plan to tour universities and community centres. We’ll also be part of The Perception Festival at Omnibus Theatre later in the year.

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

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 at The Gate, a verbatim show by Anna Deavere Smith. Nina Bowers performed the testimonies with skill, power and empathy. I went home and spent hours reading about the LA riots.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about The Talk?

Created from interviews with almost 100 people, The Talk is a headphone verbatim play about the subversive history of sex education in England. It’s about how we learnt, or didn’t learn, about sex and relationships. The play features personal tales of first times and crossed lines; the education and awareness we wanted, needed, didn’t get, or didn’t like. Headphone verbatim theatre is an intimate storytelling method. The actors perform the edited interviews whilst listening to the recorded material through headphones


Writer: Neela Doležalová

Director: Kristine Landon-Smith

Cast: Ken Birk; Divian Ladwa; Nyla Levy; Stephen Myott-Meadows; Josephine Starte; Jennifer Tan

The Talk plays as part of VAULT Festival 2018 from 15 – 16 March 2018. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.