Iona Lee at Hidden Door 2017

Hidden Door finds its voice with 2018 Spoken Word line-up

13 spoken word artists, alongside a Flint and Pitch night curated by Jenny Lindsay and two comedy nights selected by Gilded Balloon, make up our 2018 Spoken Word programme.

Hidden Door Festival has always sought creative innovation, embodied by the renovation and occupation of neglected spaces. This core concept is mirrored in this year’s spoken word line-up.

Alongside established names, we can find a host of more experimental artists, whose practice tests the potentialities of the genre itself. The programme is incredibly diverse in its offerings: from high-concept performances like the “regal night of intrigue, Ferrero Rocher, and murder mystery” offered up by duo Poetry as Fuck, to multimedia projects like Glasgow-based collective Sonnet Youth, who describe themselves as: “A spoken word house party. A literary rave. A real life piss up in a brewery – bringing together poets, authors, rappers, comedians and musicians for a night of no holds barred performances.”

Poetry as Fuck and Sonnet Youth are sure to delight audience members returning after last year, given the warm response which met their 2017 Hidden Door performances. Another sure-fire crowd-pleaser is Jenny Lindsay’s Flint and Pitch night, a stalwart of the Edinburgh spoken word scene.

With many of our featured spoken word artists residing in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the line-up represents some of the most exciting innovations within Scottish spoken word. Interrobang dialogue with their Edinburgh surroundings in new ways, revitalising the concept of ‘local flavour’ with a show which proposes a visit to an alternative history of Edinburgh, via a reinterpretation of the Bible. Place is an important theme in their work, expressed through a commitment to using site-specific features in their performances.

Some of our chosen artists exemplify a wholly different means of taking ownership of one’s surroundings. These include Iona Lee, Sasha de Buyl-Pisco, Nichola Scrutton with Zoë Strachan, Jen Mcgregor and L.A Traynor; these female spoken word artists using spoken word to speak out, assert their individuality and demand to be heard. In the case of writer and digital artist LA Traynor, her spoken word practice also encompasses ‘Women with Fierce Words’; a collective of performers passionate about supporting others to find their voice.

Another artist exploring spoken word as a tool for empowerment is Iona Lee. The former Scottish slam poetry champion takes a ‘the personal is political’ approach to her craft, commenting in 2017; “My writing about my experiences as a young woman is intrinsically political, even if I’m not writing about the tampon tax or the rape clause or some other female-related legislation. It is also important to use the platform that you are provided as an artist to tackle political issues, especially in the current climate.”

Iona Lee at Hidden Door 2017

As an integral part of this year’s spoken word programme, audiences will be able to enjoy two nights of curated comedy presented by Gilded Balloon. The first of the two evenings, ‘Gilded Balloon Comedy’, is a line-up of Gilded Balloon’s Fringe favourites from across the world, and is to be hosted by Jay Lafferty with featured comics Mat Ewins, Lou Sanders and Richard Gadd. Hosted by Scott Agnew and featuring Rosco McClelland, Alfie Brown, Harriet Dyer and Rachel Jackson, the second night, ‘Gilded Balloon Work in Progress’, is a showcase of new work by faces old and new — before it hits the comedy festival circuit.

Gilded Balloon is thrilled to enter into this new creative collaboration with Hidden Door, as Katy Koren, Gilded Balloon’s Creative Director explains: “Gilded Balloon is beyond excited to be presenting two comedy shows at Hidden Door Festival in 2018. We are incredibly proud to host some of the best local talent as well as those from further afield. Our line ups for Hidden Door feature varied styles of comedy and writing that we think suits what Hidden Door is all about. From those trying out new material in advance of the Fringe to others laying down their very best jokes, there is something for everyone!”

This is the first time we have featured comedy as part of our main programme and we’re pleased to be working with Gilded Balloon as one of several exciting new partnerships and collaborations we have in store for 2018.

Curated evening events

Two evenings of comedy, as selected by Gilded Balloon, and a Flint and Pitch Night with acts chosen by Jenny Lindsay.

Invited Artists

The Unsung.

Selected Artists

Interrobang, Sonnet Youth, Colin Mcguire, Iona Lee, Stuart Kenny, Sascha de Buyl-Pisco, Nichola Scrutton and Zoë Strachan, Bibi June with Ross McFarlane, Ellen Renton and Shannon O’Neill, Jen Mcgregor, L.A Traynor, David Macpherson, Poetry as Fuck.

More about Hidden Door

Returning for its fifth edition, the non-profit and volunteer-run multi arts festival Hidden Door this year heads back to Leith Theatre following the huge success of last year’s festival — continuing what was started to transform the theatre into the major arts venue the city needs. Picking up the festival’s tradition of discovering forgotten spaces, the festival will also take up residency in Leith’s empty and derelict former State Cinema building. With 10 days and nights of music, theatre, visual art, film and spoken word, the festival will transform these empty spaces with the help of some of the best creative talent from Scotland and beyond.

Hidden Door 2018 will take place from 25 May – 3 June.

The official Hidden Door Programme Launch Party is taking place on the night of Friday 2 March at the Liquid Rooms.

Hashtag: #HiddenDoor

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