It’s Leith again for Hidden Door

Nov 3 2017 | By More

Pop-up Festival returns to Leith Theatre for 2018

Hidden Door, the multi-arts pop-up festival is to return to Leith Theatre for its 2018 offering and has announced plans to run events in the nearby State Cinema building.

It has also extended its open call for proposals for visual art, theatre, spoken work, dance and film to be part in the 2018 festival. This will allow companies and individuals to adapt their applications to the venue.

Hidden Orchestra playing Hidden Door 2017 at Leith Theatre. Pic: Chris Scott

The news follows this year’s hugely successful event at the Art Deco theatre, which saw over 13000 visitors taking in a mix of music, visual art, theatre, cinema, spoken word and dance.

The work carried out on the fabric of the theatre, which had been dark for 30 years, in order to allow the festival to take place has also left a legacy for the building, making it fit to stage further events, such as the Trainspotting party in August.

Hidden door say that overwhelming public support, combined with the huge untapped potential of the space, meant that it was an easy decision for the festival’s organisers to return for a second year.

Hidden Door 2018 will run for a ten day stint from Friday May 25 to Sunday June 3 2018.

David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, said “This year’s festival left the public – not to mention the Hidden Door team and contributors – wanting more.

the venue the city is crying out for

“Leith Theatre has enormous potential to be the venue the city is crying out for, and we can’t wait to continue the journey with the Trust and everyone involved in bringing it back to life permanently.”

Expressing his delight that that the festival will be returning to the theatre, Jack Hunter, the Chair of Leith Theatre Trust said: “Next year marks a developing partnership approach between us and we will be working together to gain funding so that we can regenerate the amazing art deco building that is Leith Theatre.

“Hidden Door really helped put us on the map for a lot of people in 2017 and we’re excited that we’ve both made the List’s Top 100 side by side at 24 and 25. We’re looking forward to showcasing the huge range of performing and visual arts in Hidden Door in 2018 to a large and enthusiastic audience.”

Besides helping with the renovation of Leith Theatre, Hidden Door is continuing with its original approach of discovering and re-opening forgotten spaces with an approach to the current owners of the former State Cinema building, just around the corner on Great Junction Street, to use it as an additional venue in 2018.

Opened in 1938, the building operated as a cinema until the 70s before it was converted into a bingo hall and, subsequently, a nightclub. It has lain empty for over a decade and current owners Glencairn Properties intend to redevelop the building.

ideal temporary space

The team believes it has found an ideal temporary space to expand its ambitious programme for the festival’s fifth edition.

State Cinema in Leith. Pic Glencairn Properties

Hidden Door’s venue and site team leader Hazel Johnson said: “The developers have been very open to the possibility of using the cinema, and it’s a great match for our skills in bringing spaces back to life.

“Now, more than ever, we’re going to need the people of Edinburgh and Leith to get on board and support us to make something incredible happen in Leith next May.”

Edinburgh-based Glencairn Properties has indicated its support for the project. Director Daryl Teague said: “It’s fitting that this incredible building, that’s sadly been left to ruin over recent years, will provide a backdrop for the arts in Edinburgh. We’re delighted to help play our part in supporting the Hidden Door festival and look forward to seeing the space transformed once again.”

Hidden Door is currently inviting proposals for visual art, theatre, spoken work, dance and film to be part in the 2018 festival.

The deadlines for proposals are now:
Visual Art, Theatre and Dance : 13 November 2017.
Spoken Word: 20 November 2017.
Film: 5 January 2018.
More information can be found at


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