Call for Spoken Word – Hidden Door 2022

Hidden Door is now inviting submissions from poets and spoken word performers to be part of this year’s festival – taking place 9-18 June 2022 in the impressive Old Royal High School building in Edinburgh.

The iconic structure, full of unusual spaces, rooms, and chambers, provides an opportunity for Hidden Door to further develop our spoken word programme, giving it more prominence within the festival. Hidden Door will also feature live music, theatre, dance, and art projects, bringing the entire complex back to life.

Spoken word practitioners are invited to submit ideas for innovative projects, and poets are encouraged to present readings of new work. We are keen to create room for experimental conversations and extraordinary writing, and we are committed to providing a safe space, including an accessible and welcoming platform. Individuals and groups from across the UK and at any stage of their career are welcome to submit. Those looking to develop and innovate their practice are especially encouraged. Each selected project will receive a flat fee towards contributors’ time and relevant project expenses.

By stimulating the public’s interest in the potential of disused spaces, we hope to create exciting ways for audiences to discover new artistic voices in Scotland. Through bringing diverse art forms together, contributors will reach new communities, collaborate on high-impact events, and meet and work alongside a wide range of practitioners.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 17th February.


Hidden Door is bringing back a full Spoken Word and Poetry Programme for its 2022 festival in the Old Royal High School building in Edinburgh, which will take place from 9th – 18th June 2022. We are looking for a wide range of projects, performances and poetry readings that reflect the vibrant state of the artform in Scotland today.

We are looking for experimental projects which allow practitioners to push boundaries within their practice, but also submissions for reading or presenting new work.


Open to poets and spoken word performers who want to participate individually, as a group or as a collective.

Open to practitioners at any stage of their career. We welcome work from a wide range of people, from newer artists to more established practitioners. We are always on the lookout to support emerging creative practitioners.

Open to practitioners living anywhere in the UK.

We are looking to show quality work and present innovative projects that will help develop the practice of the poet or group, or that will demonstrate an innovative approach. We are keen to display creative experimental conversations and writing, providing a safe space and an accessible and welcoming platform.

How to Apply

Apply by completing this online application form (link to Smart Survey)

When you fill in the form, you will be asked if you would like to include supporting material:

These are all optional, but will help support your application. You are also asked to submit your CV. This is required. If you are providing links to video clips that are longer than 5 minutes, or feature more than one performer/poet, please indicate clearly in the comments box which time period you specifically want the selection panel to watch. The selection panel will spend a maximum of 5 minutes looking at supporting online video links for any submission.

Please note that a crucial part of the selection process is based on the review of applicants’ supporting material and as such we strongly encourage applicants to submit high-quality material where possible. Ensure all attached file names contain your name/name of group or project.

Application deadline: Thursday 17th February at Midnight

Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed on the following criteria:

A panel comprising members of the Hidden Door team and guest-selectors will conduct selection. Successful applicants will be notified by email by Tuesday 22nd April. Due to the volume of applications received, we are not able to give feedback on individual applications.


Hidden Door will provide a flat fee for each project selected, based on a performance fee and a project budget if applicable.

Hidden Door is committed to fair pay for artists and performers. We base our rates of pay on the Scottish Book Trust Rates suggested artist fee of £175 for an hour-long solo performance. For a group project we will discuss an overall fee based on this rate.

As part of the application, we ask you to propose a budget, based on the number of participants, and any other foreseeable costs, such as travel, materials for props, rehearsal time etc.

Hidden Door will provide all technical requirements and technical support for the project, so these do not need to be listed in the budget, but it is useful for us to know if your project will require any specialist equipment, like a digital projector for instance.

The budget is purely indicative, and helps us understand what the project or performance is likely to cost. It ensures we don’t end up selecting more performances than we will be able to afford. Hidden Door is a charity that raises all its revenue through the festival, so please bear that in mind when proposing your project and putting together your budget.

When a project is selected, the budget will be discussed in detail and a fee will be agreed. If a fee cannot be agreed, the artist has the right to withdraw from the programme.

Additional Information

If you have further questions please email us at

Making Hidden Door happen

Hidden Door is organised and run by a team of around 60 volunteers who commit to making the festival happen in their spare time. As such, we run with the ethos that everyone involved is asked to pitch in however they feel comfortable to make the festival a success. We ask our contributors to help promote the event across social media and help with general publicity where they can. Specific requirements and arrangements for listing and promoting your show will be made available to selected projects as soon as possible after selection.

We also like our contributors to help by being a presence at the festival. Participating artists will receive a full access pass to the entire festival as well as guestlist passes and discount codes that will be confirmed closer to the festival.

Do get in touch with if you have any further questions about the application process, or about Hidden Door generally.