2018 Call for Proposals

Non-profit multi-arts festival Hidden Door will return to Edinburgh from 25 May – 3 June 2018, and we have been overwhelmed by the response to our call for proposals for visual art, theatre, dance, spoken word and film. Thank you to everyone who has sent in ideas.

We are now inviting proposals and submissions for Live Music with a deadline of Wednesday 31 January.

Applicants need to email livemusicHD2018@gmail.com with:

Bands from anywhere in UK are eligible but HD may not necessarily cover all travel if selected. A fee payable to the band and rider will be agreed by negotiation after selection on a case by case basis. Live music acts will be notified as to whether they have been selected to be included or not by 1 March.

See more info for bands and promoters.

Important updates

Venue announcement

We have now revealed that we will return to Leith Theatre in 2018, but also plan to open up the old abandoned State Cinema just around the corner as an additional space to expand our programme.  If you need further info about either of these venues for your proposal, please get in touch.

Artists Fees

Hidden Door believes in fair pay for artists and our ambition is to pay all our artists, performers and contributors. As a non-profit, volunteer-run arts organisation, this is always dependent on securing the necessary funding, which we are currently applying for. We hope to know about this funding by February 2018 and will keep all contributors informed.

David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, says: “Edinburgh is a city busy with festivals but Hidden Door offers something different, opening up new spaces for new artists and creative talent to bring something fresh to the mix, celebrating innovation and experimentation in the arts. 2018 will continue this ambition and we look forward to presenting the best Hidden Door yet next May.

“This open call for proposals allows for some of the best new and emerging talent to get involved and develop their practice, providing a platform for new projects and ideas. In addition to this, our invited programme will continue to support more established artistic producers. Between these two, we can be sure of attracting a diverse and high quality programme of work.”


Here’s what past contributors had to say about their experience of Hidden Door:

This is possibly my favourite festival to create work for. I’d totally recommend anyone who wants to take risks in their work & perform in exciting previously abandoned venues to apply. There really is no other festival like Hidden Door.

Hidden Door was such a positive experience for our artists- get an application in now!

It was especially meaningful to be part of an event that not only provided support and a platform for talented emerging artists, but to be part of a movement that made a statement and could have further impact on the city and culture of Edinburgh. There was a palpable sense of renewed hope and inspiration throughout the festival.

Hidden Door provided me the chance to explore a range of new tech and practices that I wouldn’t have had the time or finances to do on my own. It also allowed me the space to develop a large scale technical and site-specific work. This has allowed me to continue these practices and explore further showcasing and development of the work.

I liked the mix of works – having some more traditional (and accessible) artworks exhibited with the more experimental or conceptual works I think meant that there was something for everyone given the diverse audience.

I was impressed and entertained by all that was on offer. The challenges of the environment for display and installation etc became opportunities. Pressure was kept low and all staff and volunteers had a can-do attitude.

It is a truly unique initiative and great to see the support shown for emerging artists in Scotland such as myself to help them create an ambitious body of new or previously unreleased work.

Hidden Door 2017 reviews

An “inspiring and successful festival” which “perfectly demonstrated the capabilities of the gorgeous old Leith Theatre as a living, breathing concert venue”. “Ad-hoc but ingeniously curated art and performance” – David Pollock, The Scotsman

A “minor miracle […] a long-neglected building has undergone a remarkable renaissance”. – Brian Ferguson, The Scotsman

“With each step further into the depths of this abandoned masterpiece, the building grows wilder. Each corner, every space reveals something new” – Amy Taylor, The Skinny

A “nomadic cauldron of creativity which is unlikely to sit still for long […] a sprawling village of alternative culture” – Neil Cooper, The Herald

A ”riot of noise and colour” – Mike Wade. The Times

“Get along to Hidden Door as often and as soon as you can.” – Just For Culture

Past deadlines for 2018 Proposals


For the first time, we ran an open call for film submissions, and will curate a programme from the selections that will complement the rest of the film programme, which will be curated by invited partners and curators. We welcomed all sorts of submissions in film and moving image, from feature films (films over 30 mins) to short films, experimental film and moving image pieces, fiction, documentary, beautiful and bizarre!

We are also delighted to announce the Hidden Door Film Innovation Award – a cash prize of £500 that will be awarded by a Jury for a piece of outstanding innovative film making.

Deadline for submissions was Friday 5 January 2018.


Film Submission 2018 – Guidelines (Word)


Spoken Word

We invited proposals from spoken word performers of all descriptions at any stage of their career. We welcomed work from a wide range of people, from students to more established poets and performers, living anywhere in the UK. We welcomed proposals for stage-based readings and performances, site-specific or site-adaptable work, solo sets, collaborative events, audio pieces, perambulatory and experimental formats.

We were looking for innovative proposals and well considered work; projects which innovate or develop the practice of the poet, writer or performer, and/or consider and engage the audience in terms of accessibility and/or their experience and interaction.

The deadline for proposals for the Spoken Word Programme was Monday 20 November at 11:59pm.

There was no cost to submit a proposal and a fee and budget will be provided to chosen projects. See the guidelines below for more details.


Spoken Word Call for Proposals 2018 – Guidelines (Word)

Spoken Word Proposal Form (Word)

Visual Art

We invited proposals from visual artists across the UK, at any stage of their career working in any media. This includes but is not limited to painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, drawing-based practice, video, installation, performance, sound art, collaborative projects and site-specific work.

Proposals were invited until Monday 13 November and are now being considered by an expert panel, made up of members of the Hidden Door team as well as external selectors. Hidden Door aims to pay a fee to artists and will also cover the cost of materials and promotion for all open call visual artists and performers that contribute to the festival. In addition the spaces will be cleared, prepared and set up with any power, lighting and technical requirements provided at no cost to the contributor.


Visual Art Call For Proposals – Guidance (Word doc)

Visual Art Proposal Form (Word doc)


We sought proposals for new writing and innovative stage-based and non-stage-based productions for our Theatre Programme in 2018. We welcomed proposals from a wide range of people, from students to more established practitioners, based anywhere in the UK.

Proposals were invited until Monday 13 November and are now being considered by an expert panel comprising of members of the Hidden Door team alongside external invited experts.

Hidden Door will pay a fee along with basic project costs covering equipment hire and materials requirements. Theatre spaces will have a basic lighting rig, staging, PA system and an in-house technician. Hidden Door will source equipment on the company’s behalf and provide costs up to £500 if required.


Theatre Call For Proposals – Guidance (Word doc)

Theatre Proposal Form (Word doc)


For the first time, Hidden Door is running a dedicated programme for dance, reflecting the growing interest in this area of the arts. We were pleased to be able to put out an open Call For Proposals for new ideas, works in development and pieces that have already been performed, to form a part of this programme. Hidden Door is focussed on providing opportunities for artists wishing to develop and innovate their practice and it is hoped the new dance programme will reflect this. Site-specific, staged and installation works welcome.

There was no cost to submit a dance proposal and a budget and fee will be provided by Hidden Door to help dance makers deliver their project. See the guidelines below for more details.

The deadline for proposals for the Dance Programme was Monday 13 November. Selected works submitted through the open call will be programmed alongside a number of Invited works.


Dance Call For Proposals – Guidance (Word doc)

Dance Proposal Form (Word doc)

Hidden Door is a non-profit, volunteer run arts festival which brings forgotten and abandoned spaces back to life with art, music, theatre, dance, spoken word, cinema and more. Hidden Door 2018 will take place from 25 May - 3 June, both at Leith Theatre and the old State Cinema. See more about the venues.

2018 Call for Proposals

See details of our Call for Proposals for Film.