Hidden Door 2018 (25 May – 3 June) reveals a diverse programme of music, visual art, theatre, film, spoken word and dance with an all-star cast of collaborators. Returning for its fifth edition, the non-profit and volunteer-run multi arts festival this year returns to Leith Theatre following the huge success of last year’s festival – continuing 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 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, dance, spoken word and special events, the festival will transform these empty spaces with the help of some of the best creative talent from Scotland and beyond. The two venues will be free to explore every day during the festival until 6pm, with tickets now on sale for the evening events.
The festival has steadily grown in size and reputation since it began in 2014, when it cleared out the abandoned Market Street vaults to run a 9-day arts festival 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”, also winning a VisitScotland Scottish Thistle Award for “Best Cultural Event or Festival”.
Music at Hidden Door steps up a level from previous years. A key highlight must surely be Leith’s own sensations Young Fathers, playing a heady ‘homecoming’ gig after their recent UK tour to support their new album, recorded not far from Leith Theatre. The performance is set to show what this amazing venue is truly capable of. The programme also features international Grammy award-nominated duo Sylvan Esso with their perfectly poised electronic pop – the product of sheer alchemy between Amelia Meath’s effortlessly acrobatic melodic reflections complimenting Nick Sanborn’s dynamic compositions.
We kick off on Friday May 25 with a flurry of some of the most distinctive female voices in today’s music world, including an the utterly joyful explosion of guitars, attitude and smart lyrics that is Glasgow’s punk-pop queens Dream Wife. Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale will also be performing a solo set which is sure to sparkle.
The opening night makes a statement of intent by featuring an all-female line-up curated by The List Magazine, bringing together the unique, powerful female voice of Gwenno, champion of Cornish and Welsh songwriting, and headliner Nadine Shah, whose jazz-kissed indie rock is described as a blend between PJ Harvey and Nick Cave.
Saturday May 26 shines the spotlight on more wonderful women. Supporting headliners Sylvan Esso, we’ve got Glasgow’s woozy synth-disco duo Happy Meals, fronted by Suzanne Rodden, who sings in French and English, plus Edinburgh-based singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emilie whose three piece infuse airy pads, electronic drum beats to sit beneath catchy yet ethereal vocal melodies.