Hidden Door


Also see our separate advice about Covid-19 and staying safe at our festival.

About Hidden Door

What is Hidden Door?

Hidden Door is a volunteer arts charity 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 volunteer run and a not-for-profit charity.

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 Registered Charity (charity number SC050108) and all proceeds from the festival go straight back in to running the event and paying our contributors.

Does Hidden Door want funding?

We certainly wouldn’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.

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. Find out how to volunteer here.

Is your festival accessible for people with disabilities?

We use derelict, undiscovered and temporary sites for our events, which means some areas may not be fully 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.

Can I bring my dog?

Well-behaved dogs are welcome to visit the outdoor areas and we just ask that they’re kept on a lead. The festival will be busy and noisy at times so please keep that in mind when planning your visit.

Support/guide dogs are of course welcome at all times and in all areas.

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.