Artists invited to contribute to 2018 Hidden Door Festival

Non-profit multi-arts festival Hidden Door will return to Edinburgh from 25 May – 3 June 2018, its organisers have announced today, as they invite artists to come forward with proposals.

Following the success of this year’s 10-day festival at the old Leith Theatre, which saw the art deco venue back up and running after decades of lying dormant, the volunteer team behind the festival have set their sights on an ambitious fifth year in 2018, which will also include an extended events programme of school tours, artists’ talks, debates, workshops and more.

And for the first time, Scotland-based dancers and filmmakers are being invited to join the country’s emerging and most innovative visual artists, theatre and spoken word performers in submitting proposals for the festival.

Hidden Door is an arts organisation which aims to open up urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists, musicians, theatre makers, filmmakers and poets. Through organising temporary events, Hidden Door showcases new work and creates engaging environments for the public to experience, explore and discover.

The festival has steadily grown in size and reputation since 2014, when it cleared out the abandoned Market Street vaults to run a 9-day arts festival focused on showcasing local creative talent. In 2015 the festival moved to a hidden courtyard behind Kings’ Stables Road, and returned to the same site in 2016, attracting over 12,000 visitors to experience a wealth of art, poetry, theatre, cinema, dance and music. In 2017 the festival breathed new life into the old Leith Theatre, attracting rave reviews and critical praise for its role in resurrecting “Scotland’s best new live music venue”.

The venue for 2018 is yet to be confirmed, with organisers considering several exciting options for Hidden Door 2018. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that are flexible enough to potentially work in a variety of spaces.

David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, said: “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.”

Call for visual art proposals – deadline 23 October

Hidden Door is now inviting 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 are invited until 13 November 2017 (extended deadline) and will then be considered by an expert panel, made up of members of the Hidden Door team as well as external selectors. Hidden Door will 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.

Full details can be found on the Hidden Door website at

Further calls for proposals for spoken word, film, theatre, dance and music will be announced in the coming fortnight, with information published on the Hidden Door website and social media.


Visual Art Call for Proposals 2018 – Guidelines (Word doc)

Visual Art Proposal Form (Word doc)

Visual Art Proposal Form (Pages file)

Artists’ testimonials

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

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

About Hidden Door

Hidden Door is an arts organisation which aims to open up urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists, musicians, theatre makers, film makers and poets. Through organising temporary events Hidden Door works to showcase new work and create engaging environments for the public to experience, explore and discover.

Hidden Door is volunteer run and not for profit, with the festival funded through ticket sales, sponsorship and fundraising. Hidden Door also applies for grants and any money received goes straight back into the festival and its creative contributors.

More info


Hashtag: #HiddenDoor




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