Street performer accompanied by a BSL interpreter. Photo: Steven Paterson.Photo: Lesley Martin

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society would like to say a big thanks to all who came to our Fringe Disabled Access Day on Saturday 13 July 2019. The event provided an opportunity for disabled people and their friends and families to see what services the Fringe Society offers to make the festival more welcoming for everyone who wants to attend.

Paul Ralph, founder of the UK-wide Disabled Access Day (which takes place biennially in March), said, ‘I can remember, when I first encountered the Fringe some 12 years ago, there was very little for me as a wheelchair user. I now look at the Fringe with great affection… I have this notion that there is something for everyone, because you have a whole tranche of accessibility. Accessibility has moved away from just wheelchair users like me – it’s moved into so many other areas and touched so many other people’s lives.’

The Society’s services include:

We also provide clearly marked accessible viewing areas at the Virgin Money Street Events – or as Paul likes to call them, ‘magic carpets’:

‘One of my favourite moments in my collection of Fringe stories is my first encounter, on the Mound, with what I described as the “magic carpet”. Here it was: a blue carpet, the wheelchair logo, sat at the edge of the audience line. And for the first time ever, I wasn’t sitting behind a crowd, listening to the adulation and going, “What the hell are they going mad about? What is this crazy performance?” I can actually go, sit on the mat and enjoy the performance. What was fascinating was the crowd actually opened up to allow me to get into that space and enjoy it. It changes street performance.’