The Fringe should be accessible to everyone – here’s what we’re doing to help
12 November 2019
At the Fringe Society we’re continuously working to make the Fringe more inclusive and welcoming for everyone. Inspired by Purple Tuesday – an international day of action focused on changing the customer experience for disabled people – we’ve pulled together some of the ways we’re working to ensure that as many people as possible can experience the fun and excitement of the Fringe.
We work with Neatebox so you can tell us in advance when you’re visiting the Fringe Shop or Virgin Money Street Events and what access requirements you have, meaning we can serve you better when you arrive.
Access bookings service and PA tickets
The access bookings service is available to anyone who needs it, whether you’re looking for shows with captioning or audio loops, searching for a specific venue’s access information or booking a complimentary personal assistant ticket.
We install a Changing Places accessible toilet in Edinburgh’s city centre during the Fringe, with an adult-sized changing bench and hoist for people unable to use a standard accessible toilet.
We put together listings of shows with signed, relaxed, captioned or audio-described performances, which you can search and filter by which accessibility offerings they have. We’re working on developing these even further in 2020.
This year we increased the provision of BSL interpretation at our street events, with signed performances every Saturday of the Fringe. We also produced signed video flyers of Fringe shows featuring BSL interpretation.
We’ve introduced priority viewing areas at our street events, so people who need to be at the front can enjoy the action.
These free-to-borrow backpacks are designed to help autistic children and adults better enjoy the Fringe, with contents including ear defenders and a fidget toy.
Our Venue Access Award highlights Fringe venues that have taken steps to ensure their spaces are as accessible as possible, from providing detailed information online to having level access and lowered counters. Nearly 40 venues achieved the award in 2019.
This July we hosted our first ever Fringe Disabled Access Day, opening up the Fringe Shop and Box Office and giving visitors a chance to try out our access services.
Our work’s far from over, but through ongoing collaboration with people in the D/deaf and disabled communities we believe we’re moving in the right direction. We’re not alone in that belief – this year we’ve been recognised with awards from Attitude is Everything and Euan’s Guide commending our approach to accessibility.
Thumbnail photo: Photographer: David Wilkinson