Hidden Door 2022 programme revealed

Hidden Door has announced a bumper programme of music, visual art, dance, theatre and spoken word as the festival returns to its full length for the first time since the pandemic.

More than 200 new and emerging artists will be showcased in the impressive surroundings of the Old Royal High School on Calton Hill from 9 – 18 June.

Audiences will be encouraged to explore the myriad of performance and exhibition spaces as they make their way through the building, discovering unexpected sights and sounds along the way. They could stumble on a poet in Pianodrome, dancers in the central debate chamber, emerging DJs in the basement, genre-breaking bands on the indoor and outdoor stages, and some of Scotland’s most exciting visual art in the building’s smaller rooms.


With more than 70 bands taking to four performance spaces, Hidden Door will be presenting every genre of music over the course of the festival.

On the outdoor stage, 90s indie-dance pioneers Saint Etienne, soul-pop singer Yellow Days, modern instrumental music group Portico Quartet, Edinburgh music collective Tinderbox Orchestra, spoken word post-punk band Dry Cleaning, alternative folk rock collective This is the Kit, and maverick punk electro group Warmduscher will each headline a different night.

Inside, audiences will be able to see electro-punk solo artist LoneLady, London electronic group Real Lies, six piece Alt-rock band The Joy Hotel, Scottish hip-hop rising star Billy Got Waves, and genre-hopping dance band PVA.

The Pianodrome stage will feature a series of late night music sessions showcasing artists with a love of improvisation, from the likes of Edinburgh’s S!nk, Mike Keaney and Friends Improvathon, and  producer The Reverse Engineer.

Down in the basement, music label Hobbes Music, Edinburgh radio station EHFM and women and non-binary DJ collective Sisu will each host residencies showcasing their roster of talent.

See more about this year’s music programme.

Visual art

Much of this year’s visual art programme responds to the unique building it will be exhibited in and its varied history.

Amy Harrison will create a site-specific piece with mirrors, lights and paintings responding to the Royal High’s architecture. Sax Shaw will also be responding to the space, creating a glass sculpture with light that casts colours onto the surrounding area.

Among the roster of Scotland’s best new artists are a number of international practitioners, with the programme reflecting the contribution they make to Scottish culture. This includes illustration from Jagoda Sadowska, her style combining her Polish background with East Asian aesthetics. Also celebrating her heritage, Soorin Shin will show Four Seasons, a series of architectural metal sculptures representing Korean Norigae charms.

Celebrating deep sea corals found off the coast of Scotland, Jodi Le Bigre will paste lithographic prints onto the walls. Meanwhile, Fraser MacBeath is creating an immersive audiovisual installation exploring the depopulation of the Hebrides.

Work will also be on display from three artists currently undertaking a graduate residency at the Leith School of Art, Molly Kent, Madeleine Wood and Jack Whitelock.

See more about this year’s visual art programme.


Hidden Door 2022 sees an exciting roster of dance companies and solo artists taking to both the central chamber and other smaller sites across the venue.

In the central chamber, Taylor Han and Simone Seales will perform With Catastrophic Consequences blending dance and live music with audience suggestions to bring a cacophony of joy.

Elelei’s A Ciegas is a two person, immersive performance exploring the concept of sight. And Eowyn Emerald brings Sugared to the chamber, a fun and flirty piece that builds from a solo dancer to an ensemble of five.

Collective Endeavours is a group improvisation of dancers and musicians engaging with each other, the audience and the space.

Elsewhere on site, OCEANALLOVER will present Ecdysis, a boundary-pushing combination of dance, new music, costume and wonky choreography. House of Jack will perform The Unknown, a piece that explores stories of loss, loneliness, social anxiety and passive aggression.

Trio Nomoss will combine Butoh performance, sound art and vocal elements in their performance. And Alan Greig will take audiences with him into the venue’s tiny spaces as part of Within Reach, an intimate character performance.

See more about this year’s dance programme.


Seven theatre companies have been selected to perform at this year’s festival, with many performining in the Pianodrome.

Mystika Glamoor will be performing Between Revolutions, a cabaret inspired by the book The F*ggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions. Noah Tomson and Sakis Longoretti are staging The Great Pretender, a physical theatre show exploring imposter syndrome.

Sweætshops bring Witches Assembly to the Pianodrome, a multidisciplinary theatre piece exploring the social repercussions of the witch trials. Jess Brodie and Victoria Bianchi are staging Help Yourself, a two-hander based on the concept of a wellness seminar.

Dripping Tap Theatre will use the space to put on an experimental piece featuring buffon ballerinas interacting with the audience.

Elsewhere on site, Adrenalism will be presenting a satirical street theatre show about the climate crisis, toxic masculinity, violence and green washing. And SALTYDOLLS return to Hidden Door with TH4T’S CL4SS, a responsive piece exploring themes of class and meritocracy.

See more about this year’s theatre programme.

Spoken word

This year’s spoken word programme represents a diverse range of poets and storytellers from Scotland and beyond.

Among those taking to the Pianodrome stage is Ale de Luis who will perform a collection of English poetic retellings of Spanish and Latin American myths and legends. 

Sean Wai Keung will be making a bit of a mess during KNEAD, where he tells stories of mixed-identity and bread-sharing while mixing, kneading and baking bread in front of the audience.

Imogen Stirling will perform extracts from LOVE THE SINNER, her collection of long-form spoken poetry with sung sections.

Oliver Robertson, who started performing spoken word during lockdown, will perform a selection of his poetry recounting tales from his upbringing in the East End of Glasgow.

And Miss Leading presents Another Universe, a poetic imagining of alternative lives set against the backdrop of lockdown.

See more about this year’s spoken word programme.

David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, said: “I believe this is the most ambitious programme Hidden Door has put on so far, and reflects the sheer amount of talent and creativity that has been starved of opportunities over the last two years and is raring to go.

“We have designed our programmes by putting out open calls, where we invite artists of all these different disciplines to tell us about their new work, and how they would show it at Hidden Door. We have been completely inundated with submissions and it has been genuinely exciting to read through so many inspiring proposals.

“It is going to be incredible to bring so many of Scotland’s best new emerging artists into the Royal High School building, and see it burst into life. We are privileged to live in a country with so much creative talent and Hidden Door is doing what it can to ensure that talent has an opportunity to announce itself to the world at an early stage. There is going to be so much energy at this year’s Hidden Door Festival!”

See details of the full programme.

Hidden Door are working in partnership with the new National Centre for Music.

Hidden Door 2022 is supported by Baillie Gifford and other generous partners and sponsors.

The Skinny are the official media partners for Hidden Door 2022.

Edinburgh brewer Innis & Gunn is sponsoring this year’s festival and will be pouring a selection of their premium beers at bars across the site. 

Tickets are available via hiddendoorarts.org/tickets or from Citizen Ticket.