This page contains information about accessible performances, our venues and our booking scheme the Access Pass.
We want to make sure you have a relaxed and enjoyable experience with the Festival. If you have any questions or feedback for our team, don't hesitate to email us at [email protected].
The Access Pass is designed to improve the booking experience for D/deaf and disabled audience members, allowing you to:
- Let us know your access needs so we can provide you with the best possible experience
- Book online for wheelchair spaces, essential companion tickets, seats with the best view for BSL interpreted performances and touch tours.
- Request printed copies of our brochure and Access Guide, with options for braille, audio CD and large print.
- Find out more here.
The Edinburgh International Festival uses the term "Disabled people" to refer to anyone who self-identifies as disabled. This can include D/deaf and neurodivergent people if they identify as disabled, as well as others living with impairments (physical, sensory, learning, cognitive, long-term health conditions etc) that identify as disabled.
Some D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent people may not identify as disabled but the Edinburgh International Festival is guided by the Social Model of Disability and recognises that people can experience disabling barriers, whether they identify as disabled or not.
We are looking to improve our access provisions and widen our pool of access interpreters. We are welcoming expressions of interest from professionals in the areas of:
- British Sign Language interpreters (particularly those who would be happy to be integrated into a performance)
- Audio describers
We are particularly interested in hearing from access interpreters interested in working creatively and imaginatively within the fields of theatre, opera, music and dance.
To find out more and apply, visit our recruitment page.
An audio describer provides a live commentary of the visual elements of a performance which is broadcast through a personal headset. They will describe the action such as where the characters are on stage, what they’re wearing, how they gesture and what the set looks like, without intruding on the actors’ dialogue. The commentary begins 15 minutes before the curtain rises.
Prior to some audio described performances, a touch tour offers people who are blind or partially sighted the opportunity to get up close to a selection of costumes and props. The describer gives a full account of the items that you are introduced to and how they feature in the performance. Tickets for touch tours are free but must be booked in advance and are listed alongside our audio described performances.
BSL Interpreted Performances
In a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted performance, the interpreter stands onstage, either at the side of stage or integrated into the performance and provides a linguistic and artistic interpretation for people who are D/deaf or for whom BSL is their preferred language.
BSL users can book tickets using SignLive, an online BSL video interpretation service. You can also book the best seats for viewing the BSL interpreter online by signing up to our Access Pass.
Captions are displayed in large text on either side of the stage. Dialogue appears in real time as the words are spoken by the performers. Captions also provide information about who is speaking and any sound effects or music that may be important to understanding the performance.
We offer relaxed performances for anyone who would benefit from a more informal setting. For these performances, lights remain brighter, loud noises within the show are avoided, customers are allowed to leave and return to the auditorium as many times as they wish, and people are free to make noise if they need to.
This type of performance is designed to make the theatre setting more welcoming to people who may find the standard theatre environment overwhelming. This includes customers who are neurodivergent, on the Autism spectrum, or have dementia, anxiety, Tourette's, bowel and bladder conditions or a learning disability.
You can book tickets for relaxed performances by signing up to our Access Pass.
Accessible performances and provisions are supported by Claire and Mark Urquhart