Poetry and Spoken Word – call for artists for Hidden Door 2023

Hidden Door Festival is taking place from 31 May – 4 June 2023 and we are looking for poets and spoken word artists who would like to contribute to this event and be part of our programme.

Deadline NOW EXTENDED: Friday, 3rd February, midnight

Hidden Door is looking for a wide range of Scotland’s emerging and established poets and spoken word artists for its 2023 festival event. This year, Hidden Door will take place in the former Scottish Widows Headquarters (“The Complex”) on Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh.

If you would like to present your work as part of this unique event, in an unorthodox setting and play a central role in this innovative multi-arts festival, please complete our simple application process.

Hidden Door 2023 will be platforming individuals or duos to perform their poetry in a simple, stripped back format: on stage with a microphone, a spotlight and an audience, nothing else required – just your words!*

We invite applications from anyone based in Scotland – from those new to spoken word to published poets who wish to promote a book or publication. Our aim is to create opportunities for our performers regardless of their publication history, while putting together our best programme possible.
We are looking to book 4-5 sets per evening, 20-30 minutes each.

*While Hidden Door is not looking for groups or ensembles for our open call, if you feel strongly about an idea for a larger show, we are open to hearing it. We love hybrid and interdisciplinary projects. However, do know these acts will be considered on a very selective basis.


This year, the whole event is being designed around the theme ENVIRONMENTS . Therefore we are especially interested in writing and work which explores issues related to the environment and climate change, but also other ways of interpreting the word, such as imaginary spaces, domestic settings and other ways of defining and noticing the spaces we create or inhabit.
We like experimental writing, diverse in its content and approaches, and encourage applications from marginalised groups to expand on conversations about our relationships with the natural world.


We are equally committed to providing a safe space in an accessible and welcoming platform. The Hidden Door team is not interested in applications or content that discriminates against vulnerable communities.

How to Apply

Apply by completing this application form:

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

You should attach: 

  1. Up to 3 pieces of writing. 
  2. An image that represents you. This can be an image of you performing, or a press shot or another image that could be used for promotional purposes. 
  3. Links to any online video clips, images or sound files that relate to your proposal. (This is optional, but it will help support your application if you have it.)

    Note: 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 stamp you want us to watch. The selection panel will spend a maximum of 5 minutes with supporting online videos for any submission.
  1. You are also asked to submit a Creative CV. This is a requirement. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience, as this step helps ensure we select a range of practitioners.

Selection Process


What We Provide

Note: If you have an idea for your performance that would involve other props or equipment, you may suggest it in your application. During the selection process, we may contact you to discuss the logistics and any associated costs. However, our general advice would be to keep it simple!

Additional Information

If you have further questions, you can reach us via email at: programme@hiddendoorarts.org

Making Hidden Door Happen

Hidden Door is organised and run by a team of around 60 people, the majority of whom are volunteers (whose time and contributions we want to respect). As such, we ask our contributors to promote their event across social media and to help with general publicity where able. Specific requirements and arrangements for listing and promoting your show will be made available as soon as possible after selection. 

We also like our contributors to attend as much of the festival as they can, and to bring their friends! We want Hidden Door to act as a community, where artists support and witness each other’s work – making this possible with a free, all-access pass. We will also provide you with some guestlist passes and discount codes for your performance night that will be confirmed closer to the festival.