Old Royal High School revealed as the location for 2022 Hidden Door Festival

24 January 2022
Old Royal High School, Edinburgh, copyright David Martin
The old Royal High School on Calton Hill in Edinburgh will be brought to life for a ten-day festival of live music, visual art, dance, theatre and spoken word in June 2022.

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. The festival will completely transform the entire complex from 9-18 June 2022.

Inside the vast building, forgotten rooms will be transformed into performance spaces and given over to artists to fill with installations.

One of the most impressive rooms, the central debate chamber, will host specially commissioned in-the-round performances and spectacular events that respond to the unique space.

The old school's debate chamber, copyright Dan Mosley

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Outside, a stage will be built for large music performances and a bar will take over the front terrace, giving festival goers a unique view on the city.

David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, said: “This is such an incredible site for Hidden Door! It is such a privilege to be able to bring one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings back to life.

“It feels really exciting, in what is still a very challenging period for the arts, to invite Scotland’s newest, most daring artists, dancers, theatre-makers, poets and musicians to take over such a prestigious building that has been dark for so long and flood it with creative energy. It feels important to bring Scotland’s young creatives right into the centre of the city this time to celebrate what they do. 

“We know that the public will enjoy exploring this unique building too. 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.

“We have been inside quite a few times now, with maps and plans, and we still get lost! I can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to wander around and get lost too.”

Tickets are available via Hidden Door and once the full programme is announced in February, ticket holders will be able to select which days they would like to attend.