Hidden Door Festival: 2018 programme revealed

The festival returns to the Leith Theatre for a ten-day programme of music, dance, film, spoken word and more

Preview by The Skinny | 02 Mar 2018

After the success of their 2017 festival, the volunteer-run multi-arts festival returns to Leith this May and June with a bigger programme than ever. Two of the most eye-catching events on this year’s initial programme come in the form of gigs from Leith’s own Young Fathers, and the infectiously fun North Carolina synth-pop duo Sylvan Esso.

Elsewhere, the live music programme includes a live show from Romare and a DJ set from Nightwave, as well as Distant Voices, a new project featuring C Duncan, Admiral Fallow and Emma Pollock in which they’ll perform tracks written collaboratively with members of the Scottish prison population. There’s also an all-female opening night featuring Nadine Shah, Cornish and Welsh language songwriter Gwenno, Brighton-via-Iceland punk trio Dream Wife and a solo set from Stina Tweeddale of Honeyblood.

Film and Comedy at Hidden Door

In addition to their main base at Leith Theatre, this year Hidden Door will take over the State Cinema on Great Junction Street, and the cinematic line-up is an ambitious one. Edinburgh International Film Festival team up with Hidden Door to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wesley Snipes’ vampire swedge-fest Blade, in an immersive experience with music from Nasty P, while New Media Scotland present a multi-sensory screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to mark 80 years since its release. Scottish Documentary Institute present a collection of films produced in the 15 years of their training programme, and there are also collaborations with Scottish Queer International Film Festival, Africa in Motion, Edinburgh Short Film Festival and Kino Klub.

Comedy also joins the Hidden Door programme for the first time, in the form of a pair of nights programmed by Gilded Balloon. Gilded Balloon Comedy will feature 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd, Lou Sanders, and the lightning-quick multimedia surrealism of 2017 Comedy Award nominee Mat Ewins; Gilded Balloon Work in Progress will highlight new work from a host of comics including Alfie Brown, Harriet Dyer and Rachel Jackson.

Theatre, Dance, Spoken Word and Visual Art

Hidden Door's theatre programme features a dozen theatre companies across visual theatre, puppetry, children's theatre and more. The Leith-based Village Pub Theatre present a trio of site-specific pieces; bilingual Edinburgh-based company Theatre Sans Accents present new work; Fiona Oliver Larkin stages a new work of solo puppetry entitled Salt; and Annie Lord presents "lantern-illuminated lecture theatre" piece Celluloid.

In dance, Hidden Door present POP-UP Duets (fragments of love), a series of short contemporary dance duets from choreographer Janis Claxton and Pippa Murphy (who worked with Karine Polwart on her A Pocket of Wind Resistance album last year). Each of the five minute pieces features new music composed by Murphy, with vocals from Kathryn Joseph. Scottish Dance Theatre present Velvet Petal, following its UK debut at last year's Dance International and a run at the Edinburgh Fringe last year; Simon Fildes presents new online video installation Pilgrim, with dance from Katie Armstrong; and Leeanne Dobbie presents a Japan-inspired ensemble piece as part of a programme that features projects from artists from across Europe and Asia.

This year's Spoken Word programme features a Flint and Pitch-curated night, an 'alternative history of Edinburgh' from Interrobang, a “regal night of intrigue, Ferrero Rocher, and murder mystery” from Poetry as Fuck, and an immersive short story celebration House of 1000 Stories, featuring Heather Parry, Kirsty Logan and Ryan Vance. And the Hidden Door visual arts programme will feature a distinctly international flavour across its 31 artists. Edinburgh artist Silas Parry presents his work produced in residencies in Japan, Julia Oborne draws on her Thai heritage, and Josie Rae Turnbull's photo series looks at the theme parks of Vietnam.

Hidden Door 2018 runs from 25 May to 3 June at Leith Theatre and the State Cinema. Full details of this year’s programme will be revealed at the Hidden Door programme launch party at Liquid Room, Edinburgh tonight (2 Mar, 7pm), with live sets from Pronto Mama, Ela Orleans and The Reverse Engineer.