Access at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018
The Fringe Society works to make sure that the Fringe is as accessible and inclusive as it can be. We are committed to listening to the access needs of our audiences, performers and our wider community and work continuously to improve the accessibility at Fringe venues and Box Offices.
The city of Edinburgh is one of the Fringe’s biggest assets but also presents one of its biggest challenges, its medieval and Georgian architecture create an immediate physical barrier, which in many cases cannot be altered. Venues for the Fringe often appear non-traditional theatre spaces, so we work to help venues, performers and audiences improve accessibility where they can. We encourage participants to include accessible performances where possible to ensure that their shows reach as wide an audience as possible. We are dedicated to making sure that anyone who wants to be part of the festival can be, whether that’s as an audience member or a participant.
Our Venue Access Award, developed in partnership with the charity Attitude is Everything, provides venue managers with a minimum standard of accessibility to aim for and offers different levels of achievement. Venues began displaying Venue Access Award certificates in 2017. 19 venues have completed level 1 of the award, with an additional 10 venues (including some of the largest venues at the Fringe) currently working towards level 1. In 2017 we also began offering a mobile changing place for Fringe audiences. This is a Mobiloo, the world’s first attended, mobile toilet and changing facility for disabled people who can’t use a standard accessible loo. This will be parked on the corner of Windmill Street, next to Fringe Central, and open from 10:00 – 22:00 each day of the Fringe.
In 2018 the Fringe Society will be unveiling a new look street events arena on the Royal Mile, featuring new stages and performance areas, making space for an even wider range of Fringe shows and street theatre spectacles. The redevelopment will also make the Virgin Money Street Events more accessible than ever before, with dedicated viewing areas for those with access needs, BSL interpreted performances on the West Parliament stage on the 18th and 19th of August, fully accessible stages and sensory backpacks available for children and adults on the autism spectrum.
The Fringe Society has also become an Attitude Champion, working to improve access through set goals. These range from committing to ensuring that Fringe Society organised events are accessible to everyone, to creating an environment that encourages deaf and disabled people to work and/or perform at the Fringe. You can find out more about our Attitude Champion work on our website: https://www.edfringe.com/learn/accessibility-initiatives
Our access bookings team maintains a database with access information on venues and spaces at the Fringe, enabling audience members to make informed choices.
If you require a personal assistant (PA) to help you attend the Fringe, you are entitled to a complimentary PA ticket. Wheelchair users requiring a PA ticket should phone 0131 226 0002, contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org
or by text message on 07860018299. All our customer service staff are trained by our access bookings team, meaning audiences don’t have to seek a specialist to help them book shows. As well as booking a wheelchair space, or personal assistants, customers can book captioning units, find out more information about BSL interpreters, or ensure they get early access to a venue by contacting the access bookings team in advance, who will make sure the venue knows what to expect.
You can find information on venue accessibility by visiting the venue index on edfringe.com or using the advanced search to filter shows by accessibility. This allows you to see which shows are in venues that have level access, audio enhancement, wheelchair access, and accessible toilets.
If you are interested in shows which offer captioning, signed performances, audio description or relaxed performance, you can search for these using the advanced search function on edfringe.com. This will give an overview of which shows are offering these performances. For specific dates, then head over to http://edfringe.com/accessible-performances alternatively, if you find a show you would like to see, either online or in the printed programme, look for the access icons next to each entry. Please note that although shows may have many performances during the festival, the accessible performances are only on the dates listed at http://edfringe.com/accessible-performances
Special Assistance at Edinburgh Fringe with ‘Welcome by Neatebox’
Welcome is a free app which allows you to request visits to our box offices and High Street Meeting Area, indicating the areas you need our team to have awareness of and the assistance you require. We will be notified of the visit request and receive an overview of your disability and top tips to aide the interaction with you. We implemented this service to ensure that your needs are met upon arrival and believe that it will improve your experience on the High Street.
To download the free app visit: www.neatebox.com/welcome-at-fringe