We want to make sure that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is accessible to anyone who wants to take part, which is why we’ve introduced several measures to make the Fringe more welcoming for autistic people. All of the following will be available at the 2019 Fringe.

Sensory backpacks

The contents of our free-to-borrow backpacks are designed to make the Fringe as enjoyable and stress-free as possible for autistic people and anyone who finds the Fringe a bit overwhelming.

Each backpack (available in adult and child sizes) contains a fidget toy, water bottle, stress reliever, earplugs or defenders and a list of relaxed performances at the Fringe. Sensory backpacks are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To borrow a backpack, please bring a form of photographic ID with you – we’ll hold onto this as a deposit.

Dates, times and locations for borrowing a backpack for the 2019 Fringe will be listed on edfringe.com once confirmed.

Find out more about our sensory backpacks

Relaxed performances

Our regularly updated accessible listings let you know of specific show performances that are staged with autistic audiences in mind.

Relaxed performances may include removing restrictions on audience members moving around, making noise and interacting with the performers. They can also highlight the absence of potentially stressful factors such as:

  • total audience black out 
  • flashing lights/strobed lighting
  • loud/repetitive/high-pitched/unexpected or overlapping sound
  • distinctive smells
  • special effects (eg smoke/bubbles/pyrotechnics)
  • latex balloons
  • characters expressing anger
  • heavily dialogue-driven scenes.

A list of relaxed performances is also included in the sensory backpacks.

Access tickets service

The Fringe Box Office has staff in place to specifically handle enquiries and ticket bookings for people who have additional access requirements, including anyone who:

  • requires specific accessibility information for each venue
  • requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • has specific seating requirements
  • requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance
  • is unable to queue/needs early access.

More information on this service is available on our accessibility information and booking page.

We are grateful for the funding from Edinburgh Tourism Action Group through Festivals Tourism Innovation Fund which supports our sensory backpacks.