Brainstorm: Hidden Door Festival Set to Revive Edinburgh Arts Scene

For many, the arts scene in Edinburgh has been dying a slow, agonising death in recent years- with historic venues being taken over by restaurant chains and musicians preferring the busy streets of Glasgow to Edinburgh’s unbearable sound restrictions.

Hidden door festival hopes to breathe some new life into the Edinburgh arts scene, with a nine day exhibition of the capitals finest talent.


This years hidden door festival is set to be held in the abandoned citadel theatre

Shying away in the long-abandoned citadel theatre, Hidden door festival is set to transform the derelict and forgotten venue into a hub of artistic talent ranging from live music venues to installation spaces and hosting some of Scotland’s best emerging creative talent.

For 28 years the stunning derelict art-deco theatre has been standing empty and falling into disrepair. Leith Theatre Trust has recently been granted a lease for the building and wants to get it up and running as a functioning arts venue for the city in a bid to improve the declining scene within the capital.


Photo by Chris Scott

The venue comprises of a huge auditorium and balcony, with a labyrinth of old dressing rooms, passages, a projector room and an orchestra pit. The history of the building is varied, serving in its time as a theatre, a cinema, and a music venue, hosting the likes of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy.

Hidden Door is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers. It is dedicated to opening up disused spaces in Edinburgh, making them available to artists and emerging creative talent for new ideas and ground-breaking projects. This approach is about creating new space for the arts in a broader sense, by providing innovative opportunities and a much-needed dynamic platform for artists and creative talent allowing them to engage new audiences.


2016’s Hidden Door drew over 12,000 visitors to the site over the nine days of the festival. As David Martin, Creative Director says:

“Part of the idea of Hidden Door is to make connections between the creative communities of Edinburgh, and those of other cities and places too, so we are pleased to bring people from all over the country to the festival. We will make it a fantastic and significant cultural event, full of life, energy and creativity.”

Running from the 26th of May to the 4th of June, this year’s hidden door festival is set to be an unmissable display of the raw talent in the Edinburgh underground arts scene- and hopefully will provide the first step in bringing some artistic life back to the city.


Images by Chris Scott

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