It’s often repeated that access works best when it’s considered from the beginning of the development process. This is true. Asking, ‘who is this work for’ and ‘what barriers are we creating’ allows access to be built into the bones of the work. The access is usually a fully fleshed out artistic part of the piece and can be incorporated into every performance.

When we don’t do this, there’s often a sense that access is a luxury. Access takes a lot of time and money. Access should take time and money. BSL interpreters, audio describers and captioners are all artists with unparalleled adaptation skills in their particular discipline. They spend a lot of time agonizing over how to capture the feeling, the intent of a performance, and translate it into a new medium. They work closely with venue staff and creative teams to figure out how to make the audience’s experience of the performance easy and pleasurable.

In many ways, the conditions of performing at a Fringe Festival – the tight turn arounds, the spaces temporarily converted into theatre spaces – all make access feel like a luxury; something that audiences and performer cannot afford. There are performances in Horizon that have integrated access. But for many of the performances in Horizon access has been added afterwards. This is because we believe that access is not a luxury. It’s essential. That shift, from seeing access as a nice thing to do if you have the time and money, to see it as a basic part of what makes a performance good, is something Horizon is attempting. We’re still learning, and working in a Fringe context is deeply challenging, but access is not optional. We’re lucky to be working with artists who are curious and excited about access, who are willing to have conversations about how we can give even more people the option of seeing their exceptional work.

All of Horizon’s performances have pre-show information because we believe that all audiences should have the option to know what they’re buying a ticket for. Most of the performances have Easy-Read guides to the venues and the performances so that audiences can have visual and written information about what to expect from the venue and the show. Every performance is relaxed with step-free access. We have nine BSL interpreted performances, seven captioned, one with audio description and four with audio introductions.

We’ve got more work to do, particularly around increasing the number of performances that we’re audio describing. But it’s a decent start at considering access an ordinary, essential part of presenting at Fringe.

Written by Kelsie Acton. Kelsie is Inclusive Practice Manager at BAC, working as an advisor for Horizon Showcase.

Image: Guerilla, El Conde de Torrefiel, Transform 17 Photographer: The Other Richard.

Accessible Performances
All Horizon performances are relaxed.

I Was Naked Smelling of Rain
Aidan Moesby

Tue 23 Aug @ 2pm – Captioned
Wed 24 Aug @ 2pm – BSL
Listen to the audio introduction here

Common Wealth, Speakers Corner and Bradford Modified Club with Fuel
Thur 25 Aug @ 5pm – BSL
Fri 26 Aug @ 9pm – Captioned

The Dan Daw Show
Dan Daw Creative Projects
All shows are captioned
Thur 25 Aug @ 8.30pm – Audio described
Fri 26 Aug @ 8.30pm – BSL

Eve Stainton
Mon 22 Aug @ 8pm – BSL

Jaz Woodcock-Stewart with Morgann Runacre-Temple

Tues 23 Aug @ 10.10am – Captioned
Wed 24 Aug @ 10.10am – BSL

He’s Dead
Wed 24 Aug @5.45pm – BSL
Fri 26 Aug @ 5.45pm – Captioned
Listen to the audio introduction here

Look At Me Don’t Look At Me
Thurs 25 Aug @ 3pm – Captioned
Sat 27 Aug @ 3pm – BSL

I Am From Rejkyavik
Sonia Hughes
Mon 22 Aug @ 12 noon – BSL

the vacuum cleaner
Thur 25 Aug @ 7pm – Captioned
Fri 26 Aug @ 7pm – BSL
Listen to the audio introduction here