Hidden Door


About Hidden Door

What is Hidden Door?

Hidden Door is a volunteer arts organisation based in Edinburgh, which began when a group of friends started an experimental project, using empty/disused spaces for the advantage of the creative community of Edinburgh.

Hidden Door organises temporary events in urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists and is entirely independent. We programme visual art, music, theatre, film, spoken word and dance, showcasing new work in unusual and exciting settings to create engaging environments for the public to experience, explore and discover. The project is completely volunteer run and not for profit.

Is Hidden Door really made by volunteers?

Yes. Hidden Door is entirely volunteer led, organised and run. Our core team work all year round, coordinating the festival in their spare time, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends.

Is Hidden Door really not-for-profit?

Yes, completely! We’re a Community Interest Company and all proceeds from the festival go straight back in to running the event and paying our contributors.

Is Hidden Door a charity?

Not yet – we are currently working towards charitable status as part of the plan for a more sustainable future for Hidden Door.

Does Hidden Door want funding?

We certainly won’t say no! Money to fund the festival is generated though 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.

Does Hidden Door pay its artists?

Absolutely. Hidden Door believes in fair pay for artists and we pay all our artists, performers and contributors, according to industry standard rates. Over the years the funding grants we have received have been ring-fenced for this purpose.

How do you find the buildings you use?

In addition to pounding the streets looking for potential places, we have worked with both developers and the City of Edinburgh Council to help identify suitable venues. Our vision is to use the fabric of the city creatively, for artists, producers and audiences alike. We celebrate the lives of buildings for the time we get access to them.

It’s important to say that developers work to a much longer timescale than a Hidden Door Festival, and development sites are earmarked long before we come along – we only work with developers if their building is sitting idle while the details of the planning process are worked through.

Is your aim to save those buildings from development?

Our ultimate aim is to open up interesting new spaces to showcase amazing creative talent to new audiences. The Leith Theatre is an important addition to the city’s cultural spaces, and a cause that we have been delighted to play a vital part in. We will continue to support the efforts of the Leith Theatre Trust in their work to bring the Leith Theatre back into full use, and if there is any way we can support other similar initiatives through the activities of Hidden Door then of course we will!

What do volunteers get out of working with Hidden Door?

The many volunteers that make Hidden Door happen have a variety of different roles and responsibilities and the festival simply wouldn’t exist without their generosity, enthusiasm and expertise, be they part of the organising team, helping to set up the venues or stewards.

We support everyone involved where we can, providing opportunities to gain experience in new areas, training, free access to the festival, food and drink and job references.

About our festivals

What is Hidden Door Festival?

Hidden Door Festival is a multi-arts event, which has run annually since 2014. We locate empty and derelict spaces, clearing them out, making them safe and transforming them for the duration of the festival.

The festival showcases the best of new and emerging creative talent in Scotland, builds exciting environments for the public to explore and offers amazing food and drink from our many food stalls and bars. The festival normally runs for 10 days from the end of May into the start of June. Information about future festivals and events will be announced later in 2018 – we are currently fundraising to secure the future of Hidden Door.

Where have previous Hidden Door Festivals taken place?

In 2014 the festival took place at the beautiful Market Street Vaults. For 2015 and 2016 it found its home on King’s Stables Road, in the lea of Edinburgh Castle. 2017 saw the festival bring back to life the then unused Leith Theatre and in 2018 we returned to this spectacular building, adding the empty former State Cinema on Great Junction Street into the mix.

What access is there for people with disabilities to the Hidden Door Festival?

We use derelict, undiscovered and temporary sites for our events, which means some areas will unfortunately not be wheelchair accessible. But by working with organisations such as Euan’s Guide, with every venue we transform, we do all we can to ensure a full experience and safe access to as much of the festival as possible for patrons with disabilities.

We always want to hear how we can do things better so please do contact us at festival@hiddendoorblog.org if you have any questions or would like to discuss access with a member of the team.

Do I have to pay to come to the Hidden Door Festival?

We want as many people as possible to have access to the festival. Every year it is free to explore during the day, whilst the evening and late night programmes are ticketed – every penny we make goes back into making the festival possible.

All shows, performances and access to everything across the festival is included in the ticket price.

How does Hidden Door select its content?

Our open call allows for some of the best new and emerging talent to become involved and develop their practice and provides a platform for new projects and ideas. The projects are chosen on the merit of their proposals alone. The selected work is exhibited and performed alongside our invited programme, which was created as another way for Hidden Door to support artistic producers.

Why is Hidden Door important?

Hidden Door Festival is a place for experimentation and the creation of new work. Edinburgh needs events like Hidden Door that allow volunteers, communities and artists to work together to create special and shared experiences, bringing new music, art and performance to the city.

How will Hidden Door ensure that in the future of the festival is sustainable?

Hidden Door has an exciting potential future and we want to build on that. We are working to improve our business model make and our team more effective – for example by employing some staff – building on all the things we have learned over the past 5 years. We are also working to become a charity with a board of trustees to help us deliver al the exciting things we have in store for the future of Hidden Door.