Creative Collaborations preview – Hidden Door 2022

This year we’re proud to introduce six exclusive creative collaborations – unique one-off events bringing together artists of all backgrounds to present something truly spectacular. These are not to be missed…

Maranta in Microsteria – Thursday 9 June

A spectacular collaborative project that brings together the incredible imaginations of one of Scotland’s most exciting up and coming bands Maranta, with Chell Young, a rising star of visual art specialising in film and set design, and Vomiton, the outrageous costume design collective who will be working with dancer and choreographer Hannah Draper.

The late night performance will be a fully immersive experience designed specifically for the Central Chamber of the Royal High School, with stage props, lighting features, projections mapped onto the stage and an array of costumed characters and dancers inviting the audience on a journey into a radically designed world seen from an insect’s-eye-view.

Expect a hour-long live music set full of Maranta tunes; synth pop grooves, sounds and soaring vocals, alongside bright vivid visuals and carnivalesque dancers…

Parliament of Ghosts – Friday 10 June

This atmospheric new work by dancer and choreographer Róisín O’Brien and electronic composer Rowan McIlvride has been designed specifically for the Central Chamber, once earmarked to be the debating chamber of a Scottish devolved parliament.

The Late Night Feature performance will involve four live dancers on a stage built into the centre of the room, with audience surrounding it on all sides. Projections created by street artist Trench One will be mapped onto the stage transforming it into a horizontal screen that the dancers will move on. Dramatic lighting and specially created soundscapes will fill the chamber, building an intense atmosphere, immersing the audience in the dramatic spectacle as the Parliament of Ghosts swirls into life, building into a climax before fading away.

Get up close to this 30-minute contemporary dance performance with detailed choreography and beautiful movement. Electronic music with an emphasis on ambient soundscapes, texture and atmosphere, and dramatic and abstract lighting and projections. This will be a darkly atmospheric and haunting show, creating a powerful experience to haunt imaginations and memories for a long time afterwards.

Selkie Reflections – Saturday 11 June

Selkie Reflections is an ambitious collaborative performance spearheaded by recent graduate sound artist Alliyah, which will set out to create a mesmeric sound and movement experience for the audience in the Central Chamber.

Alliyah’s soundscapes, made from tape loops, samples and live vocal improvisations will combine with live harp and cello, courtesy of Queen of Harps and Henriette Kesten, building a sonic environment drawing inspiration from underwater sounds and the folklore of Selkies and Sirens.

Dancers Hannah Draper and Molly Danter will inhabit the central stage, bringing a visceral element to the show as they push their bodies to respond to the soundscapes. The stage itself will be flooded with projected film imagery, created specifically for the project by Cal Mac, which the dancers will navigate as the sound and atmosphere build towards a crescendo.

Dive into an immersive sound and light experience, with atmospheric sounds and vocals looping, washing and echoing; waves of electronic sound breaking around the clear acoustic tones of harp and cello as they weave their way through the music. Dancers respond expressively through creative movement and film projections onto the stage turn the platform into a screen under their feet.

Spectral Ballroom – Thursday 16 June

A unique sound and visual experience, devised in collaboration between visual artist and ECA graduate Florence Richardson and Edinburgh-based composer Luci Holland. Using material gleaned from the archives of the National Library of Scotland and other historical sources, this immersive performance will feature a specially assembled live band, playing a composition based on fragments of music from the school’s past, alongside visuals evoking a fading history.

With the audience in the round, and the visuals being projected directly onto the stage, the whole central chamber will be transformed into a sound-and-image-scape evoking a nostalgia for the building’s past.

As the Spectral band’s music concludes, DJ Malissa will begin playing recordings and sounds from the past, weaving them into a set of tunes that will build as the stage becomes a fully immersive screen shimmering with Florence’s visuals. As the music builds, a second DJ, ex.sses, will take the sound and atmosphere towards a crescendo as the stage becomes the arena for the appearance of a final dancer.

Expect a slow, atmospheric start, with some experimental live music and intriguing visuals, building through a dreamy soundscape into a lively DJ set and striking projections. The DJ sets will go on until close.

The Light Gatherer – Friday 17 June

Light Gatherer is a creation of exquisite beauty. Harpist and composer Esther Swift has devised music in response to Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “The Light Gatherer” and has put together a unique ensemble of 11 top musicians – 4 harps, 2 violins, a cello, a trombone, a saxophone, a pianist and a percussionist.

The harps drive the music, creating a beat at the heart of the composition, and Esther Swift’s clear voice weaves lyrics based on the poetry through the piece on soaring, uplifting melodies. Performing on the central stage with the audience in the round, it’s a unique chance to be up close to the musicians and enjoy the uniquely immersive experience of the music. 

In the lead up to the performance, elements of the composition will be played through speakers at various points throughout the Old Royal High building, and the musicians will appear in unexpected places, playing parts of the composition, creating echoes of the music to come, introducing it to the audience and building anticipation for the late night performance. 

Expect to be mesmerised for 55 minutes by an incredible group of musicians, combining to create   a polished performance of a beautiful, uplifting piece of music. The arrangement in the round will allow audiences to get up close to the players, and not just hear, but feel the music as it folds them in to its complex arrangements. The harps will dominate the stage, and the spectacle of the four virtuoso harpists along with their 7 accompanying musicians combined with the sounds they create together will give the audience a unique kind of musical experience, at once immersive and transporting.

Music For First Contact – Saturday 18 June

The grand finale of the Hidden Door Festival 2022 promises to be an immersive music experience quite unlike any other!

Conceived and written by boundary-breaking electro pop duo Post Coal Prom Queen, this performance is part-opera, part-game, part drama and part euphoric musical climax, that may – or may not – decide the future of the entire human race!

Based on the premise that extra-terrestrial life has made contact with Earth, Post Coal Prom Queen ask the question “should we reply, or keep quiet and play dumb?” The audience of Hidden Door are invited to vote in a referendum, and depending on what they vote for, will decide the outcome of the show.

For this show, the Central Chamber becomes a Scottish space station orbiting Mars, and the audience will be taken through the unfolding drama in the form of an electro space opera starring international opera singer Stephanie Lamprea, pianist Baichuan Hui, Scottish musicians Laura Wilkie and Calum Cummins and rapper Johnny Cypher, who will join Post Coal Prom Queen on the stage in the round throughout the epic performance. A small cast of actors will add to the drama as Music For First Contact plays out.

No one knows what is going to happen – that is up to the audience, but what will they vote for? And how will it end?

Expect a one-hour show with an incredible mix of music styles bringing together phenomenal and eclectic music talent. Expect soaring arias, deep bass, skittering beats and lush sonic textures, Expect high drama and high stakes. The audience will vote via a QR code app throughout the day, and Music For First Contact’s propaganda campaign, putting both sides of the argument in the referendum will be visible throughout the whole venue. As this is the final performance in the Hidden Door Festival 2022, expect the end to be huge!