South Stage at Hidden Door 2021


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.

Hidden Door Charitable Company Ltd (known as Hidden Door) is a Scottish Charity, SC050108, regulated by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

Is Hidden Door made by volunteers?

Yes, Hidden Door is volunteer-led, organised and run by a team of around 50 volunteers who work all year round, coordinating the festival in their spare time. This expands to a team of over 200 volunteers for the festival itself.

We have a small number of paid roles supporting the delivery of our events, and all of our artists and contributors are fairly paid for their work.

Find out more about the team behind Hidden Door.

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.

How is Hidden Door funded?

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 paying 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 work with local communities, organisations, developers and the City of Edinburgh Council to 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.

Read a brief history of the buildings we’ve transformed over the years.

Are your venues safe?

We use derelict, undiscovered and temporary sites for our events, and these usually require a lot of work to make them ready for the public. We have health & safety experts on the team to ensure that the spaces are safe before we open, and we just ask audiences to be sensible and to pay attention to signage and instructions from stewards. We want you to explore, but do not enter areas that are shut off or closed. Please be careful around the art installations as these are delicate and not normally designed to be touched. We recommend sensible footwear as some surfaces can be uneven. If you have any concerns during your visit, please speak to a steward.

Staying safe, post-pandemic

We know the pandemic had a massive impact on events and gatherings, and we want everyone to feel comfortable and safe when they visit our festival.

We no longer require face coverings or social distancing at our events, but we continue to follow the latest NHS, Scottish Government and Local Authority guidance carefully to ensure our events are safe.

If you have any anxiety about attending our event, we would be happy to tell you more about the format of the event and how you can ensure your own comfort and safety. Please do get in touch for a chat.

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.

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 accessibility advisors for every venue we transform, we do all we can to ensure safe access to as much of the festival as possible for anyone with disabilities.

We also endeavour to create quieter visiting times for those who would prefer to explore in peace.

We release full accessibility information every year to help visitors plan their trip – stay tuned for more details once we have announced our next venue.

Please do contact us at if you have any questions or would like to discuss access with a member of the team.

Is it child friendly?

Our festivals always include something for families and children, with free entry during the daytime for visitors to explore. Every year is different, so stay tuned for more about our next event.

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 we strive to offer a free option for people to explore our venue and get a flavour of our programme, with tickets on sale for the full evening experience. Every penny we make going back into making the festival possible.

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

We also seek funding to provide reduced or free tickets for individuals and communities who may otherwise struggle to participate. Get in touch if you’d like more info about this.

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.