The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year. The Scottish capital hosts over 3,000 performances each August, featuring theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
Accessibility has always been difficult to achieve at the Fringe – tight budgets and use of historical and found spaces generally mean that people with sensory and mobility impairments are not well catered for. However, the Fringe Society are committed to increasing accessibility at the festival, with guides for performers and venues on how to put on accessible performances and generally make their shows more inclusive.
The Pleasance Theatre Trust has been at the Fringe since 1985 and they now have 23 venues of differing sizes, able to accommodate between 48 and 750 audience members. With the help of experienced live captioner Claire Hill, this year they have taken the plunge into captioned shows, with an impressive programme of 20 confirmed captioned performances, and hopefully more to come. The shows are impressively different, from a classic horror performed by teenagers, to the angst of a performing chimpanzee in 1930s USA, via a play about a couple who take a time-travel holiday. The captioned performances are largely between 19th and 26th August, and none of them overlap – however, you might be sprinting from venue to venue, in true Fringe style!
The captions will be open, presented on a plasma screen in front of the stage, and will be written live or pre-prepared, depending on the material. Concession tickets are available for people who are registered disabled, as well as a complementary ticket for assistants, and seats will be reserved with the best view of the stage and the plasma screen. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, or book online at www.pleasance.co.uk.
Claire is also live captioning events at Edinburgh International Book Festival on 22nd and 23rd August, listed here: https://goo.gl/8krKQV The Alan Johnson and Jeremy Paxman events have already sold out, but Man Booker winner John Banville’s talk still has seats available.
For anyone thinking of a trip to Scotland, there is nothing more exciting than Edinburgh in August. All the usual tours are available, of the castle and the outstanding architecture, as well as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Art Festival. They call it the world’s leading festival city for good reason!
Claire started her steno training at Smith Bernal (now DTI Global) in 1994, started working in court in 1995 and attained Accredited LiveNote Reporter status in 1996.
Since becoming freelance in 2004, she has broadened her competences to include all the areas where verbatim realtime reporting can be used.