I first heard about Hidden Door in 2014 when the non-profit put on a series of exhibitions and events in the Market Street Vaults behind the train station, now the new Waverley Arches. I only made it to some of the evening gigs, which were mightily booze-fuelled with a lot of dancing involved. Questionable dancing.
This year they were back at Kings Stables Road with live music, theatre, bars, a cinema, art exhibitions, art installations and all things creative; the idea was to open up derelict spaces in the city, spaces we might overlook and not even realise existed. Hidden Door makes these sites available for creative talent to showcase their work to the public. The theme was “Hidden Door Electric City”, a reference to the site’s history as (amongst other things) a lighting depot, with large scale installations in the dark, abandoned spaces and everything from live performances to every medium of art imaginable.
My friend Rachel Plummer is an awesome, talented poet; I’ve read a couple of her published works, but on Wednesday evening I finally got to hear one of her spoken word performances. Rachel and Pen Reid had written a series specially for the festival called “Char”, taken from the voice of the actual buildings and the relationship between the bricks and stones and the various histories of the char women who lived and worked there. They were read as a dynamic walking tour of the festival site, moving in time from its history as a stable, a slaughterhouse, a police yard, a tannery and a street lighting depot. It saw executions. Burke and Hare. Death, blood, piss and tears.
The Festival is open til Saturday 4 June, so if you have a chance it’s definitely worth checking out. There’s so much going on the only difficulty is trying to decide what to see first!