Disabled Access Charity Euan’s Guide has announced the winners of the 2019 Accessible Edinburgh Festivals Awards, where venues and festival organisers are rewarded for their commitment to taking steps toward inclusion.
Capital Theatres, which runs the Festival Theatre, the King’s Theatre and The Studio was delighted to be awarded the Euan’s Guide Award for the Most Accessible Large Permanent Venue for The Festival Theatre and its adjoining sister theatre, The Studio. The spaces were recognised for being significant as they not only offer accessible experiences for their audience, but also the performers.
The award was presented to the Capital Theatres team including Chief Executive Duncan Hendry by Euan’s Guide founder, Euan MacDonald MBE and Paul Ralph, Access and Inclusion Director at Euan’s Guide.
“We are delighted to have won the award for Most Accessible Large Permanent Venue. Our team work hard at our venues to make sure that everyone has a positive and happy experience and we are over the moon to be recognised in this field.”
Kim McKenna, Front of House & Customer Service Manager, Capital Theatres
This year’s winners also include the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Bedlam Theatre.
Each year the awards recognise the improvements that are being made to make the festivals more accessible to everyone, regardless of their disability. Now in its fourth year, this year sees the introduction of a new award, the Euan’s Guide Hello Award, which is designed to recognise a venue that created a warm welcome for all of its visitors. The winner of this new award is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Shop and Box Office, who this year held their first Disabled Access Day ahead of the festival allowing people to find out about their services in a relaxed environment.
While four out of the five awards go to venues, the Spirit of Inclusion Award is awarded to an organisation that has exceeded all expectations and has shown that disabled access and inclusion are woven within the fabric of what they offer. This year that award goes to the Edinburgh International Festival, who have a wide range of accessible performances as part of their core offering. This year they had a total of 24 accessible shows, the most they have ever offered.
Having won every year, it appears that the Edinburgh International Book Festival is unbeatable when it comes to the Most Accessible Pop-up Venue Award. Euan’s Guide considered many other temporary venues for this award, but none matched the strength of the offering at the Book Festival, who have once again added to their already noteworthy accessibility services.
The Euan’s Guide Award for the Most Accessible Large Permanent Venue is awarded to The Festival Theatre and its adjoining sister theatre, The Studio. These spaces are significant as they not only offer accessible experiences for their audience, but also the performers.
Student led Bedlam Theatre has been recognised for their commitment and determination to make an old building accessible and have been awarded this year’s Most Accessible Small Permanent Venue Award.
Speaking about the Awards, Paul Ralph, Access and Inclusion Director at Euan’s Guide said: “At Euan’s Guide we are proud to be based here in Edinburgh, a city which is home to some of the world’s leading arts festivals. As a leading source of disabled access information, we established our Accessible Edinburgh Festivals Awards in 2016 to praise the work being done to improve the festivals’ accessibility and to highlight best practice examples of inclusivity. Each year we’re delighted to see the festivals making additional improvements through their actions and offerings. This year was no exception with a real focus being placed on pre-arrival information and creating a positive first impression.”
These awards prove that despite the challenges that disabled people face when it comes to taking part in Edinburgh’s Festivals, opportunities to participate are opening up each year. The increasing number of accessible performances, the additional assistance available to people and the improvements being made to venues across the city are all worthy of recognition. Euan’s Guide is a charity which aims to give disabled people access to the information they need to allow them to make informed decisions on the suitability of a venue and giving them the confidence to go out and explore.
Image Source: Capital Theatres