Voila History


Voila! Theatre Festival is an annual theatre rendezvous in London each November. Since 2012, we have built a reputation for programming a genre-busting mix of multidisciplinary, multilingual & multicultural performance that celebrates the best of British & European emerging artists. Voila! began as a French & English bilingual fringe festival produced by The Cockpit. In response to the Brexit referendum, the 2017 festival expanded to include all European languages, with performances at The Cockpit, Etcetera Theatre, and Applecart Arts. In 2019, we collaborated with the Actors Centre to present a new festival, called A Piece of the Continent. Later that year, Rich Mix invited us to present performances in their Studio and Mix venues during our November Voila! Europe festival.

In 2020, we presented an entirely digital festival, weathering the pandemic by accelerating a long-term goal to reach international audiences online. In 2021, we returned to live performances at The Cockpit, and continued the digital programme. We celebrated our 10th anniversary festival in 2022, and then called a hiatus for 2023 to dream up some even bigger and better plans for the future. Our 2024 festival has expanded into an umbrella festival with performances taking place in nine venues across London!

Voila! is a place for artists to take risks. We support individuals and companies to make a daring leap: presenting a new piece of work, touring to a new audience, or translating a play into a new language. Beyond providing a performance platform, we mentor emerging companies, so that their next step can be a step up. Over the years, Voila! has supported over 600 artists to present 150 shows, bringing together British artists, UK-based European artists, and artists visiting from abroad.




PSYCHEdelight’s BORDERLINE (2016) is a multilingual satirical comedy about the Calais Jungle, devised with refugees. The show had its first performances at Voila! and went on to be co-produced by Counterpoints Arts. After a revival at The Cockpit in 2017, the show is now touring the UK & Europe. The company has been featured in a documentary by the Guardian, and nominated for MigrationWork’s Community Integration Awards.

French British Improvisation (La FBI) have been part of Voila! since the very beginning. Every year, the troupe brings a new experiment to the festival – whether that’s an ‘improv match’ in the round with the audience deciding the winner (2018), or an improvised romantic comedy (2019).

Paper Smoker’s show DIARY OF AN EXPAT began in a Voila! residency at Applecart Arts in 2017, going on to a successful run at Edinburgh Fringe, touring in the UK and Italy, and returning to London in our “A Piece of The Continent” Festival at the Tristan Bates in 2019. The company’s next show MILES APART TOGETHER premiered at Voila in 2018 at the Etcetera Theatre, and will be performed again at VAULT Festival when it reopens in 2021.

In 2018, Les Particules received support from the Institut Français du Royaume Uni to create an English translation for their innovative show ROBOLUTION, performed in French with two actors and one robot.

NAPOLI 44 was the inaugural winner of the OFF Fest award in association with OffWestEnd in 2019. With an original bilingual script by Lavinia Carpentieri, the show brought together a cast and creative team from the UK and Italy under the banner of Compagnia Francesca Caprioli.

The winner in 2020 was FAREWELL CONCERT by K2 Theater, supported by the Hungarian Cultural Centre, London. Their inventive interpretation of Mozart’s Dies Irae at an end-of-the-world dinner party was was filmed in Hungary and presented live online to audiences in London and around Europe, despite the pandemic’s effects on travel and production activities.

In 2021, Elisabeth Gunawan and Created A Monster won the Voila! Europe OFF Fest award with UNFORGETTABLE GIRL. Elisabeth Gunawan also won the Stage Debut award for best performer in a play.

2022’s winner was POURQUOI LES VIEUX, QUI N’ONT RIEN A FAIRE, TRAVERENT-ILS AU FEU ROUGE? (Why do old people, who have nothing to do, cross the road when there is a red light?) from international Lecoq company In Itinere Collectif, based on their artistic residencies in care homes.