Making the Edinburgh festival season accessible



Hands pinning up green post-it which reads 'best festival ever'

Last month, Deaf Action hosted the inaugural Edinburgh Deaf Festival, a week-long celebration of deaf culture, language and heritage. But that wasn’t the end of our involvement in the Edinburgh festivals. Our skilled team coordinated interpreters and captioners for both the Edinburgh Deaf Festival and Fringe performances throughout August, making even more of the festival season accessible to deaf people.

Liz Jones, our Deputy CEO and a Registered Sign Language Interpreter, along with Philip Gerrard, CEO, spoke to The Scotsman about the festival. They shared our vision for the future of the festival season, and our aim to increase access to interpreted shows and to the arts.

“We’re a very small team, but our vision was large… and the outcome has been even bigger than we could have possibly anticipated.”

By providing interpreted performances, venues and artists could give deaf people equal access to the arts, whilst raising deaf awareness within hearing audiences.

The Scotsman also spoke to comedian Kiri Pritchard-Mclean, who had two interpreted shows at this years’ Fringe, in a bid to make her performance accessible to deaf people. As the BSL/English interpreter at Kiri’s performance, Liz explained how preparation is key to an interpreted performance, ensuring accessibility but without detracting from the performance.

“Hopefully it has been a good refresh for people to take another look at accessibility… it can just make things better.”

We aim to grow this over the next few years, and hope that the interpreting, performance and deaf communities will get behind our vision and help us grow and improve the service. You can watch the full interview below.