Young Fathers to stage Leith Theatre gig at Hidden Door festival

Young Fathers will be playing a rare home-town gig as part of the Hidden Door festival when it returns to Leith Theatre.
Young Fathers will be playing a rare home-town gig as part of the Hidden Door festival when it returns to Leith Theatre.
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Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers are to stage a rare home-town gig at a neglected theatre which was closed for almost 30 years.

The hip hop outfit will be headlining the Hidden Door Festival, which will be taking over the historic Leith Theatre building, close to their basement recording studio on Great Junction Street.

Young Fathers were formed by Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham Hastings after meeting at an under-16s hip hop night in the former Bongo Club.

The band shot to fame in 2014 when they won the Scottish Album of the Year award and the Mercury Prize within a few months of each other.

The fifth Hidden Door festival in May and June will be transforming the 86-year-old venue, which was closed in 1988 after falling into disrepair, for the second year in a row, as well as taking over the nearby former State Cinema.

Music, theatre, visual art, film, dance and spoken word events will be staged in the two buildings throughout the 10-day festival.

The music line-up for this year’s Hidden Door will also feature Grammy-nominated electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso, Mercury Prize nominee C Duncan, and indie favourites Admiral Fallow and Emma Pollock.

The festival will open with an all-female line-up featuring Stina Tweeddale of Glasgow band Honeyblood, punk pop outfit Dream Wife, Welsh star Gwenno Saunders, and English singer-songwriter Nadine Shah.

Hidden Door will be staging special collaborations with Edinburgh’s long-running science, film, jazz and children festivals, as well as spoken word nights in partnership with Gilded Balloon and Flint and Pitch.

The 80th anniversary of the State Cinema will be marked with a special screening of the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, while a vampire-themed event will feature a 20th anniversary screening of the horror-thriller Blade.

Scottish Dance Theatre, Janis Claxton and All or Nothing will be among those staging special dance productions during the festival, which runs from 25 May to 3 June.

David Martin, creative director of Hidden Door, said: “This year, Hidden Door feels like it has firmly established itself in the festival canon in Edinburgh.

“We’re really excited to be working with a number Edinburgh’s acclaimed international festivals - all bringing something surprising and new to the mix.

“We’re proud to create a festival which celebrates the innovation and ambitious experimentation that is so strong in Scotland today.

“I’m delighted to reveal a programme filled with artists who dare to push the boundaries of their art forms, yet who are so young in their careers, and so open to responding to and using amazing, unusual spaces.

“Hidden Door brings a large, diverse cross section of the creative scene together, and it’s inspiring to see such a range of new talent in Scotland dedicated to creating a mesmerising and unforgettable experience for our audiences.”

Jack Hunter, chair of the Leith Theatre Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with and supporting Hidden Door to deliver their festival in 2018.

“Following the success of last year’s partnership, the event will deliver huge benefits for the Leith Theatre project, raising the profile of the campaign and helping our community-led trust to drive forward the regeneration of this important historic and cultural asset.

“Hidden Door will further showcase the building’s potential as one of Scotland’s most exciting new music and arts venues.”