Tickets released for 2024 birthday event

2024 marks Hidden Door Festival’s 10th anniversary – a decade since we opened up the Market Street vaults in 2014.

To celebrate, we are planning a birthday party at a secret location never before used for an event like Hidden Door. We can’t reveal it yet, but we can say it’s in the heart of the city (EH1).

For two nights only – Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May – we will transform our mystery space into another immersive wonderland of creativity.

Tickets are strictly limited and guaranteed to sell out in advance, so pre-booking for this one is essential.

The event will celebrate the amazing artists and performers we have worked with over the past decade and more, whilst also looking ahead to the future. We are also making plans for a bigger 5-day festival later in 2024, with more details on that to follow in the spring.

A brief history of Hidden Door…

Hidden Door was originally founded in 2009 by a group of creatives seeking to make something interesting happen in the city. Their mission was to create events where audiences could experience art away from the traditional “white cube” gallery format.

The collective curated two events at the Roxy Art House in 2010, bringing together visual art, performance, film and music. The closure of the Roxy left the group with no venue and over the subsequent years they explored options for running a multi-arts event in derelict spaces. 

The idea grew as the volunteer team expanded, and in 2014 the first full Hidden Door Festival happened, when the team cleared out the disused Market Street vaults to run a 9-day celebration of the arts focused on showcasing local creative talent.

In 2015 the festival moved to a hidden courtyard behind Kings’ Stables Road, and returned to the same site in 2016, attracting over 12,000 visitors to experience a wealth of art, poetry, theatre, cinema, dance and music.

In 2017 the festival breathed new life into the old Leith Theatre, attracting rave reviews and critical praise for its role in resurrecting “Scotland’s best new live music venue”.

In 2018, the festival returned to Leith Theatre for 10 more days and nights of music, theatre, visual art, film, dance, spoken word, late-night DJs and special events – finishing what was started to transform the building into the major arts venue the city needs. Continuing the festival’s tradition of discovering forgotten spaces, the festival also took up residency in Leith’s empty and derelict former State Cinema building, just around the corner.

Following a weekender at Leith Theatre in 2019, and an online-only series of shows in 2020 due to the pandemic, we opened up the epic Granton Gasworks in north Edinburgh in 2021, set in the shadow of the iconic gas holder. We also transformed a nearby disused warehouse into a vast exhibition and performance space as part of the festival. The additional venue doubled the footprint of the festival, allowing us to exhibit the work of recent art graduates whose degree shows were cancelled due to COVID-19.

In 2022, we brought the old Royal High School on Calton Hill to life for a ten day festival of live music, visual art, dance, theatre and spoken word. The building, mostly silent since the school closed in the 1960s, was used to celebrate Scotland’s exciting new and emerging creative talent before work begins to transform it into Scotland’s new National Centre for Music.

In 2023, we transformed the former Scottish Widows office complex on Dalkeith Road for a five-day spectacular event. Our unique “Environments” invited audiences to explore our venue in an immersive and atmospheric experience that attracted 5-star reviews and won Creative Edinburgh’s City Award.