Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion Statement
March 2022

The Edinburgh International Festival is proud of our nation’s cultural and demographic diversity and aims to be an inclusive, welcoming environment for all visitors, artists and those who work at the Festival.

Created in the aftermath of the Second World War as a counterpoint to the prejudice and division that characterised the preceding decades, with our first director Rudolf Bing being a wartime refugee, celebrating a shared sense of humanity and promoting respect for all cultures and peoples is a cornerstone of our founding principles.

Following an in-depth review of our record in the areas of equality and diversity in our programming, employment and audience reach, we enter 2022 with a renewed commitment to present the widest possible range of artistic voices in ways that are accessible and meaningful for everyone, supported by an organisation that is open and inclusive.

We believe that building a long-term inclusive environment involves everyone and as such we have established strong D&I involvement at all levels, across our Board and staff and have, with openness and honesty, set ambitious commitments for the key areas of our people, artistic programming, and audiences.

We have set goals across three broad areas to achieve a truly inclusive culture internally and externally.

Artistic programme

The Festival presents outstanding and innovative performances from Scotland, the UK and across the world. By growing more diverse, the Festival programme is creatively enriched and audiences are offered deeper and more wide ranging artistic experiences. We commit to presenting a programme of the widest possible range of artistic voices in ways that are accessible and meaningful for everyone. 

Programme diversity will be demonstrated both in terms of representation and artistic narratives. We work in partnership with artists and companies who share our values and create lasting change across our industry.

We continue to challenge rigorously ourselves and the decisions we make, understanding that the curatorial process is by its very nature subjective. We will review our processes and programme choices before and after each Festival season, taking particular care that the voices telling each artistic story are appropriate and relevant. These processes are regularly reviewed and assessed by the Festival’s board. We will also continue to develop specific metrics by which our success can be measured. We use both formal and informal data in our assessments.

Our People

Our ambition is to create a transformed, modern, festival workplace with equal opportunities for all. Diversity for the Festival is about understanding why our differences are valuable. We embed this in our culture, where our people are the heart of our operations. Our commitments include investing in leadership and change development. We want our staff to be engaged and achieve excellence. We will support this through an HR framework that is unique to our culture and wellbeing needs.

We have created staff-led working groups, supporting our commitment to protected characteristics, to understand, educate, and embrace diversity in our Festival. We employ temporary and permanent staff from a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences. We are taking positive action in our recruitment practices, to promote equal opportunities, and grow entry points into the arts for young people.


We continue to increase the diversity of our audience's makeup, ensuring we remain vital and culturally relevant to arts enthusiasts around the world whilst also engaging with communities, schools, and young people.

As our programme continues to evolve, we work to make new audiences feel welcome. Our community initiatives offer multiple entry points each year and in 2022 we plan to introduce a number of large-scale free events.

We continue to offer discounts for concessions, relaxed performances, as well as ever-growing access provisions for D/deaf and disabled people, which currently includes audio description, BSL interpretation, captioning and touch tours.

Our Festival Brochure and Access Guide are also available in audio, braille, and large print formats. Our new website and social media channels are accessible, with alt text for all images and captioned videos as well as an increasing number of BSL interpreted and audio described videos. In 2022 we have launched a new Access Pass, a scheme which allows audience members to identify access needs before booking as well as booking tickets for accessible performances online.

The Edinburgh International Festival's Diversity and Inclusion groups are now working on a detailed strategy that expands on our aims in these three areas, which will be added to this page once published.