Arts group Hidden Door has announced that it will be taking over the former Scottish Widows complex at 15 Dalkeith Road in Edinburgh for a five-day event between 31 May and 4 June 2023.
As it has done in previous year with venues such as Granton Gasworks, Leith Theatre, Old Royal High School, the State Cinema, and the Market Street Vaults, Hidden Door will be transforming the six-acre site into a temporary performance and art space, featuring visual art, music, dance, and spoken word.
The iconic building at 15 Dalkeith Road, which is made of a series of hexagonal shapes, was designed by the architect John Hardie Glover and opened in 1976. Used as a base for finance and asset management, owner Lloyds Banking Group moved out of the site in 2020.
“This is the sort of building I’ve always dreamed about taking over for Hidden Door," said David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door.
"It has a sort of ‘Tardis’ quality – although it does look pretty big from the outside, nothing quite prepares you for the expanse of spaces on the inside – you really could get lost in there!"
Martin added: “Every time we consider an empty building in Edinburgh we ask ourselves what we could do with it, and this one presents us with the opportunity to do something quite different. We will commission a series of projects that will see artists working with musicians, dancers, set designers, lighting artists and sound designers, all creating a series of experiential theatrical environments throughout the building for our audience to discover. We really are aiming for high impact next year!”
A series of ambitious collaborative projects produced by Hidden Door will see artists and performers from different disciplines working together to transform the vast interior. Audiences will be invited to journey deep into the building to seek out the performances and explore the artworks.
The full programme will be announced early next year, with a call for visual artists, dancers, musicians and spoken word performers to get involved. For now, a limited release of Early Bird Tickets are on sale. Once the full programme is announced, ticket holders will be able to select which days they would like to attend.
Hidden Door are working in partnership with Schroders Capital’s Real Estate team and Corran Properties, who are leading the redevelopment proposals for the site, with the aim to revitalise the building as a sustainable urban workspace with new residential accommodation.
Rebecca Gates, Head of UK Asset Management, Schroders Capital’s Real Estate team, said:
“Ahead of looking to breathe new life into this very important building, we are delighted to support Hidden Door Festival’s wonderful proposals to transform the vacant space into a temporary cultural arts venue which can be enjoyed by the public.”