Hidden Door reveals new venue for its 2022 festival

After staging a festival at Granton Gasworks in 2021, Hidden Door returns to transform another abandoned Edinburgh location – this time the former Royal High School on Calton Hill

Article by Jamie Dunn | 17 Jan 2022
  • Calton Hill, Edinburgh

A highlight among the crumbs of last year’s lockdown-plagued cultural calendar was Hidden Door, which returned to live events with a splendid five-day series of performances at Granton Gasworks in September. The festival, whose raison d'etre is to take over long-abandoned spaces around Edinburgh and transform them into a hive of culture and activity, is back this summer with a new location: the former Royal High School on Calton Hill.

“The property, which has mostly lain empty since the school closed in the late 1960s, will be 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,” explains Hidden Door.

We’re told that the festival will take place across the school's entire complex and feature a lineup of live music, visual art, dance, theatre and spoken word. As well as great performances, the festival will also be a chance to have a proper nosey of the vast building, with audiences urged to take the opportunity to explore the school’s myriad of passageways, corridors, nooks and crannies.

“We know that the public will enjoy exploring this unique building,” said David Martin, Hidden Door's creative director. “The place is full of surprises, and it lends itself to Hidden Door’s ethos of creating an environment that the public can explore and discover new things.”

It sounds like the former school building is rich with interesting rooms that will make for idiosyncratic performance spaces, including the grand central debate chamber, which we’re told will host a series of “specially commissioned in-the-round performances and spectacular events that respond to the unique space.” The festival will also include an outdoor stage hosting large music performances, while the front terrace will become a bar with a view across Edinburgh’s skyline.

The programme for the festival will launch in February, but until then, early tickets are now available at hiddendoorarts.org/tickets. Once the full programme is announced, ticket holders will be able to select which days they would like to attend.

Hidden Door 2022 runs from 9-18 Jun hiddendoorarts.org