Hidden City Festival – Plymouth

‘Pick of the Week’

Lynn Gardner, the Guardian

Conceived and delivered as Part Exchange Co’s inaugural Plymouth event, the Hidden City Festival was a city-wide festival of site inspired performance, exhibitions and events with new writing at its heart.

‘It’s been wonderful to see the city in a new light….. Plymouth has an ever growing reputation as a provider of first class theatre and Hidden City Festival has enhanced it and taken it to another level’

Artistic Associate, Theatre Royal & Drum theatre, Plymouth

The festival put the city of Plymouth centre stage by inviting audiences and communities to experience work in some of Plymouth’s most historically fascinating and architecturally extraordinary buildings as well as hidden away places and unexpected spaces not normally noticed or accessible to the general public.

It opened up the city and its culture and invited people to ‘experience the city in a new light’

‘I think you have opened eyes a little wider as to what Plymouth is. It certainly changed my view …and interesting to speak to the delegates after the symposium, how many said that their picture of Plymouth had been completely transformed.’

Phil Smith, co-organiser of ‘the Hidden City Symposium’

Five months worth of artist development and community engagement culminated in a final week of 21 new site-inspired performances and events in 11 venues across the city. It included;

  • a commissioning strand for professional writers and artists
  • a development strand for emerging talent
  • new initiatives for young talent including monologues & performance poetry
  • a school project
  • a showcasing strand for the region’s writers and poets,
  • complementary events comprising workshops, talks, walks, forums, writers surgeries and a symposium

All of the above had an embedded community engagement process that brought many non-traditional audiences into the heart of the festival work, transforming local people’s experiences of their local environment and their attitudes to the arts.

‘A cracking event and something which deserves to be on the Plymouth Events calendar. I would certainly be interested in being involved again next year’

Refectory manager, Plymouth Gin

Link to festival archived website here.

The Hidden City Festival was funded by Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Plymouth City Council and supported by Plymouth Theatre Royal, Barbican Theatre, Plymouth University, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Peninsula Arts, the Architecture Centre, South West New Writing Network, Writernet, Real Ideas Organisation, Urban Splash, Plymouth & West Devon Records Office, Discovery Tours, Brittany Ferries, Silver Crest ferries, the Tectona, Plymouth Gin Distillery, Urban Brew, The Treasury Bar, Oddfellows Hall, the Devonport Guildhall, The Mayflower Sailing Club, the Prysten House, Plymouth Synagogue, the Unitarian Church, the Baptist church and the Methodist chapel.