City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Hidden Door Festival To Revitalise Leith Citadel Theatre


By edg - Posted on 01 November 2016

AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young strutted along its balcony. Legendary Delta bluesman Son House, Thin Lizzy, Kraftwerk, and the Wombles all played here in its heyday.

The art deco Citadel Theatre in Leith has been dark since 1988. But that’s about change.

After 29 years, next Summer will see the venue open again to the public for the Hidden Door Festival.

Hidden Door just announced that in 2017 it will take over the main theatre in Leith for its nine-day programme of music, art, and theatre.

Volunteer-run Hidden Door specialises in making over derelict and unused spaces - in the past it has refashioned the Bongo Club and (last year) the Old Street Lighting Depot in King Stables Road.

The main Citadel Theatre is part of a complex that has been under lease to the Leith Theatre Trust since January of this year.

The not-for-profit Trust runs a programme and rentals for the adjacent Thomas Morton Hall, the Marriage Suite and the Foyer (Crush Hall). Those venues have been open for private functions, dances, as well as a rehearsal and performance space, but the Trust's goal has always been the refurbishment and reopening of the theatre's auditorium, originally opened in 1932, as an arts centre for the local community. This marks a step in that direction.

The Citadel Theatre has an old world interior with a large auditorium, with good sized stage and balcony under a barrel vaulted ceiling, as you can see from a virtual tour. Hidden Door says that there’s also “a labyrinth” of old dressing rooms, passages, a projector room and an orchestra pit.

The Hidden Door Festival will include live music and theatre, bars, and a cinema as in previous years.

The deadline for performers and artists to put in proposals for the festival is in a week or two.

"There is a huge amount of work needing done to the venue, but Hidden Door has never shied away from a challenging site, and this one is truly inspirational,” says Hidden Door in a blog post.

“We want to bring the old theatre back to life next year, filling its beautiful spaces with live music, visual art, theatre, film and spoken word for the duration of our event.”

Hidden Door Festival 2017 takes place from 26 May to 4 June