Over 80 Artists go Underground @ VAULT Festival

Extinction Underground at Vault
Extinction Underground: A late night take-over of VAULT Festival.

Over 80 artists respond to the planetary emergency with Extinction Underground: A late night take-over of VAULT Festival.

  • Artists across different genres come together in response to the planetary emergency to take-over a late night at VAULT Festival, London’s largest arts festival: Saturday 22nd Feb 22:30 – 03:00
  • Headliners include DJ sets by Edwin Congreave of Foals and Fay Milton of Savages, The Umbrella Academy star Rob Sheehan and slam winning spoken word artist Tanaka Fuego
  • Featuring circus, dance, clown, drag, roaming performance, interactive art-making, short video, live music, DJ sets, installation and face-painting
  • The event represents a wide movement of movements responding to the emergency – from Culture Declares Emergency, Music Declares Emergency, Extinction Rebellion, Writers Rebel, Comix Rebel, Sixth Mass Extinction Record Label and Earth Ensemble

Extinction Underground is an interactive and immersive late night playground beneath the streets of London in response to the climate and ecological emergency. An array of artists, performers, radicals and headlining music acts will come together with vital acts of co-creation, artistic expression, connection to the planet and one another. 

Audience members and late-night revellers will be taken on a journey where rebellion, protest and the arts meet: an interactive, disruptive and moving spectacular of grief-stricken expressions and world-building visions of the future – with circus, drag, DJs, flash-mobs, processions, art-making stations, karaoke and even the opportunity to admit your carbon confessions to a priest.

Programme Highlights

Initially met by Fizz Margereson’s soundscapes of different natural environments, THE CAVERN is the first space an audience will encounter. Programmed as an intimate, sensory and alternative area, we open with aerial artist Sophie Page-Hall, followed by a poetry slam with beat-boxing sonic scientist Marv Radio and BBC proms runner-up Natalie Linh Bolderston. A ‘bed-in for climate justice’ with characters from playwright Stephanie Martin’s Rage, but Hope will be disrupted by Katy Dye’s Grief Karaoke before we end on a high with ecstatic dance meditation by GABA – think lyrical TED talk spliced with a rave, scored by the London Philharmonic.

THE UNDERBAR is host to many pop up performances including circus company The Feathers of Daedalus, all female dancing girl band The Yonis and ‘queer lover boy poet’ Tanaka Fuego with their experimental alternative R’n’b and grunge playground. Drag Kings C.E.O Peter Stokes AKA The King of Climate Breakdown and climate comedy duo Alan and Ron lead us to headlining DJs Edwin Congreave of Foals and Heléna Star of Foundation FM, with more acts to be announced. 

Moving through the CRAFT BAR where you can print your t-shirts and paint your faces, you’ll soon discover THE FORGE, opened by Fay Milton of Savages bringing her all-female party night “TOO MANY MEN” to the underground playground. Before long, clown-witch Lucy Hopkins will be guiding a not-too-serious yet definitely soulful interactive ritual that moves into acoustic sets from Luna Bec and more, providing some calm from the The Underbar. 

Expect surprises throughout the night and guest appearances from the booming community behind the disruptive actions that draw attention to the climate and ecological emergency. Dance, play, create and discover how artists and rebels are responding to our unprecedented times. 

We’ve Woken up. Let’s Rise up. 


Saturday 22 Feb 2020

10:30pm – 3am
VAULT Festival, The Vaults, Leake Street (Waterloo)
Tickets £10, Offers apply, Early bird tickets sold out 
18+ only

Money raised from tickets will go towards covering the costs of participating artists and the costs of running the event. You will also be invited to give a donation to Extinction Rebellion when purchasing tickets.

Facebook event with full programme listing:

Artist quotes

“Inspired by the fastest growing social movement of history, artists have responded to Extinction Rebellion’s call to reimagine their role in response to the emergency: to tell the truth and act as if the truth is real. Culture Declares, Music Declares and other international movements and groups have since formed, with artists from Radiohead to organisations such as the National Theatre declaring a climate and ecological emergency and taking necessary and radical action for climate justice. These are energising times and we’re excited to be showcasing such diverse artistic responses to the planet’s greatest threat: Extinction.”
Kay Michael, Co-Producer of Extinction Underground, Theatre-Maker and Co-Founder of Culture Declares Emergency

“I’m a big believer in the art of disruption. As a black Trans man my existence is already against the cultural norms which is a rebellion in itself. My show for Extinction Underground is a space for misfits who fall through the cracks. A story of the purgatory we can tend to live in although we are still alive. Regardless of where you are from and what background, all types of people who live in the city can relate to the lifestyle of slaving for another penny just to feel a float although we are constantly in a state of drowning.”
Tanaka Fuego, BBC commissioned and slam-winning poet

 “We live in a system that commodifies to the point of destruction. In the face of such a system, creative acts of reconnection are an antidote: joyfully subversive, wonderfully empowering and the foundations of transformation. I create sacred and preposterous interactive performances that celebrate the present moment and reality around us with lots of laughter. Central to my work is my deep belief that artistic expression can be used as shamanic practice, connecting us deeply with life and each other and serving our communities.”
Lucy Hopkins, Performer, Golden Goddess of Perpetual Wonder

“Music is a fundamental part of human communication and one of the UKs largest exports, but music industry practices are not currently fit for purpose for a future that can sustain life on our planet. So many of us feel the anxiety of knowing things need to change, but not seeing a way; the first step is to get together and admit there’s a problem.”
Fay Milton, DJ and drummer of Savages, Co-Founder Music Declares Emergency

“Rev. Tamaryn Payne is very humbled to represent Earth Ensemble theatre company (born from performances at the first XR rebellion) at the VAULT Festival. Carbon Confessions is all about us recognising what we do that we know we are not 100% comfortable with. It’s a chance to chat with Gaia through our priest. Non-Catholic priest. All are welcome. It’s good to talk, and ultimately, Earth Ensemble believes in imperfect humans making an imperfect effort to look after our world.”
Tamaryn Payne, Performer with Earth Ensemble

“XR Art Blockers print your garments rebellious with the iconic messaging and images unique to Extinction Rebellion. We work on the frontline of actions and events, listening to people from all walks of life and informing them about how they can help the movement of movements that is, Extinction Rebellion. It’s a fantastic and joyous way for unarrestables to be involved. We’ll be emblazoning you to glow in the dark for this Arts spectacular at the Vaults! Please bring garments, bags, you want to print – no flags/banners or other large items.”
Bridget Turgoose, XR Art Blockers

“We’re hoping that our presence at VAULTS will spread the word (and pictures!) even further. We’re looking forward to having some fun, painting some people up in superhero face-paint, and meeting potential artists and collaborators for future endeavours.”
Philip Kingslan John, Comic and Co-Founder Comix Rebel

“Writers Rebel is thrilled to be hosting the spoken word section of this evening and to be part of the creative collaboration of Extinction Underground. Extinction Rebellion’s Writers Rebel exists to give words to the emergency and to the rebellion and to ask writers to step up to this challenge.”
Jessica Townsend, screenwriter and Co-Founder Writers Rebel

“The role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible.”


Notes for editors

Culture Declares Emergency is a growing international community of individuals and organisations from the Arts and Culture sector taking action in response to the climate and ecological emergency. It launched in London on 3rd April 2019, and over 700 have since declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. Declarers include some of the UK’s best known venues including The Royal Court, Tate, HOME Manchester, Battersea Arts Centre, The Old Vic and The Roundhouse, as well as artist Sir Antony Gormley, director Katie Mitchell, actor Tamaryn Payne from Hollyoaks, and Peter Kosminsky, director of Wolf Hall and Secret State.

Sign up and learn more

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 is a global movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse. It is the fastest growing social movement of history, and within its first year has mobilised in over 70 countries, with nearly 500 local groups worldwide. It 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 | https://rebellion.earth

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. 


Sixth Mass Extinction Recordings is a record label set up to raise funds for Extinction Rebellion and Music Declares Emergency. We need protest songs remixed in all different genres to be played on the radio and in clubs and pubs. This will help to spread the message and wake up the general public to the climate emergency we are all a part of. 

It is a space to donate your protest songs and for DJs to download great music. 


Writers Rebel is an Extinction Rebellion project including A.L.Kennedy, Robert Macfarlane, Laline Paull and many more. We believe writers and cultural influencers have a moral and ethical responsibility to #TellTheTruth about the climate and biodiversity crisis. There are no stories on a dead planet and this is the most important story to be told – one that should be woven into everything we do – from novels to TV shows, from soap operas to poetry slams. It’s not just about the catastrophe that surrounds us – our societies are shaped by the stories we tell – we have the means to imagine a better future for all of us, to bring a more restorative, regenerative and harmonious world into being, one that will benefit us now and the generations to come.


Earth Ensemble are group of performers and writers with a mission to make theatre and music about the climate crisis – and take it where it matters. We not only want to raise the alarm but also help bring people together to make change.

We’ve been at the heart of the big XR rebellions as well as making XR part of the Edinburgh Festival.


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.


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#VAULTFestival #ExtinctionUnderground #CultureDeclaresEmergency #MusicDeclaresEmergency #ActNow #TellTheTruth

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