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An accessible Fringe

Fringe Society to provide sensory backpacks for people with autism

The Fringe Society has a number of sensory backpacks which are available to borrow free of charges for children and adults on the autism spectrum, to help make your Fringe experience as enjoyable as possible. Backpacks come in two sizes - one for children and one for adults - and each one contains a fidget toy, earplugs, water bottle, stress reliever, ear defenders and a list of relaxed performances at the Fringe. These items are designed to help users relax and overcome stressful or intense situations. 

The backpacks are loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis and are available from the following locations:

· Fringe Shop, 180 High Street

· Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 – 45 High Street

· Pleasance Dome, 5 Bristo Place

· Dancebase, 14 – 16 Grassmarket

· Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, 204 Rose Street

· Fringe Shop, Waverley Station

Gilded Balloon, is committed to making the Fringe an accessible arts Festival. Here’s a flavour of some of their ‘inclusive’ shows. 

Ray Bradshaw, the first comic – ever – to perform his set in English and BSL simultaneously, returns after his award-winning, sold-out, national tour of Deaf Comedy Fam with Deafinitely Baby, an all-new hour focusing on his impending parenthood, with signed performances by the comic himself. After a sensational 2018 that saw an entirely sold out Fringe season – as well as scooping the top prize on Britain’s Got Talent, no big deal – Lost Voice Guy makes his triumphant return to the Gilded Balloon; the first comic to solely rely on a communication aid to perform, I’m Only In It for the Parking marks the comedian’s 7th consecutive Fringe.

Esteemed Paralympic Gold Medallist Liam Malone makes his Fringe debut with the darkly comedic No Limbits, which tracks his journey from welfare to sporting heroism, his life as a self-styled ‘blade runner’, and his deliberate assassination of his own media-enforced image as an inspiration. This theme – the pressure placed on those with disabilities to inspire those without – is forced into the spotlight in Georgie Morrell’s Eyecon, who questions whether she’s sacrificed her sense of self in order to involuntary become the poster girl of disability.

Richard Stott, who was born with Poland Syndrome, examines body image, self-worth and mental health through the unique prism of disability in an increasingly shallow, online world – and how wider society routinely neglects these intersections – in his debut hour.

Additionally, Jay Lafferty, John Pendal, Madame George, The Adventures of the Bearded Lady, The Bubble Show, Bad Aunts and R’n’J: The Untold Story of Shakespeare’s Roz and Jules are just a few of Gilded Balloon shows who have committed to putting on relaxed performances this Fringe.

In fact quite a few venues offer stage relaxed performances,  where for example, the needs of autistic audiences are kept in mind.  There might be relaxed restriction on moving around or interacting with performers, or information on any stressful factors such as flashing lights of heavily dialogue-driven scenes. 

For more information, visit -


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