Binge Fringe Magazine

EDITORIAL: Let the ‘Love In’ at VAULT Festival

Camped out in a shipping container opposite the Old Vic and next to one of London’s noisiest Cuban nightlife spots, you’d be surprised to find a cosy oasis of calm and care. Amanda Grace has been sat there waiting for you, yes you, for all of VAULT Festival so far. Love In is a deeply thoughtful, refreshing, and welcoming experience unlike anything else you’ll experience in the Vaults this year.

As you walk in, you’re greeted by a comforting sense of calm – Amanda completely inhabits her space, soon to become your space too, and beckons you to come and sit with her on an assortment of cushions and blankets that are laid out on the floor. A candle burns gently in the corner, and she is surrounded by a seemingly bottomless collection of ephemera which she will soon share with you.

The space that she created is very much at the centre of your initial encounter with Love In, but it is Amanda herself who offers up the world you’re about to escape to. This is a one-on-one experience, where you are part of creating the content. In exchange, or rather, in collaboration with you offering up some details about your life and what makes you, you, Amanda will write you a love letter that you get to take away with you, and which revolves around the conversation and how much you offer up to her.

The interaction is never forced, and Amanda never expects to you reveal more than you want to tell her, giving the space a warm and relaxed feeling, one where sharing becomes a natural part of the experience. Amanda herself is also happy to share details of her life, and given you were strangers before you walked in, there’s a great deal of trust established quickly.

The overwhelming feeling is that I walked away with was feeling looked after, cared for, even a little teary-eyed. It feels wrong to share details of our conversation publicly given that the space is a place for sharing, but I hope you decide also to take a chance on letting the love in if you’re visiting VAULT. I walked away with not only a love letter, but a postcard (Amanda likes to hand out treats to her guests), and a pre-written meditation by Pema Chödrön, as well as having my picture taken with my letter.

The pictures, taken on Amanda’s childhood printable film camera, hang on the walls of the Void, which reminded me of a proud Mum with photos of her kids’ graduation on the wall of her living room. You’ll walk out of Love In feeling refreshed and a better person for it all. Warm, inviting and deeply personal, this is a special experience you shouldn’t miss.

Catch Love In at The Void (shipping container at the end of Lower Marsh, near Cubana Restaurant) on various dates until the 19th March. Book a one-to-one session through the VAULT Festival Box Office.

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2024), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023-24), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them