DAVID Martin is the creative director of Hidden Door 2018, a non-profit festival of music, visual art, theatre, spoken word and film which runs at Leith Theatre and the nearby old State Cinema between May 25 and June 3. Now in its fifth year, the festival is run by volunteers.

What makes Hidden Door different from other festivals?
HIDDEN Door is a 10-day event of gigs, visual art exhibitions, theatre shows, dance performances, spoken word events and film screenings. We stage all this in abandoned buildings. We bring interesting and unusual spaces that have fallen into disuse back to life for a temporary event. The whole point is to create opportunities for artists and performers to develop new work, to take risks and to innovate what they do.

Has the festival changed over the years?
IT has changed so much! We are still a group of volunteers organising this in breaks from our “real” jobs, but the scale is so much bigger. Now that we have a track record we are able to work with established arts organisations such as Edinburgh International Film Festival and Scottish Dance Theatre. Although we are expanding this year, we are still an underground organisation made by people passionate about the arts in Scotland.

The music line-up is fantastic – can you tell us about it?
LAST year we got our hands on the abandoned Leith Theatre. We discovered it was an absolutely incredible live music venue. Reviews said it was second in Scotland only to the Glasgow Barrowlands. We were determined to bring Leith’s own Young Fathers here for a “homecoming” gig that would go down in the history of Leith. We are also very proud that our opening night, co-programmed with The List, features an all-female line-up of Nadine Shah, Dream Wife, Honeyblood and Gwenno.

What are some of the highlights of the theatre and performance line-up?
WE will feature quite a bit of physical theatre. Company of Wolves will create an immersive environment of layered sound and physical movement deep in the basement of the abandoned State Cinema that will be visually and sonically really striking. We have a fair bit of puppetry too, with new work being developed by a company called Tragic Carpet. This year will be very special because for the first time we are featuring a dedicated dance programme, and we are working with some unbelievably talented performers and choreographers.

What are you looking for when you put the visual arts programme together?
WE are always looking for work that will intrigue our audience. We want people to explore the buildings and to find things that they will get really excited by. We want to work with artists who are ready to try new things and take risks, but who will also enjoy responding to these strange spaces. This is not a gallery – it’s not “pictures on the wall” kind of art – there’s loads of that already ... this is an adventure for the senses.

Can you tell us about the buildings?
WE are returning to the Leith Theatre which we used last year. It was in pretty bad shape, but with a lot of love and effort we cleaned it up and showed what it was capable of. Now it looks like its future as a venue is bright, with the Edinburgh International Festival deciding to use it as a major venue for its Light on the Shore Programme of live music. We are also opening up the State Cinema across the road. Whereas the Leith Theatre is all faded grandeur, the State Cinema is very much more of a post-apocalyptic ruin – and we love it!

Hidden Door runs from May 25 to June 3 at Leith Theatre and the old State Cinema, Leith, Edinburgh. For the full line-up and tickets, see www.hiddendoorblog.org