MAR 2024

HFF24 Town Hall #2: How to Make Your Fringe Show Accessible

Our 2024 Accessibility Town Hall was led by the festival’s Events Director, Wiley Jones.


At this event we go over the Hollywood Fringe’s Accessibility Checklist that every producer should complete as they prepare for their 2024 performances. 


1. Select the accessibility flags that apply to your production. (Many of these are simple practices that, with some planning, can be easily incorporated into the run of your show. Think about how you’ll implement those procedures prior to and on the day of your performance(s). Be honest about what you’re willing to commit to and what you’ll be able to provide.)


2. In addition to maintaining the accuracy of the accessibility flags on your project page, we encourage you to provide more detailed accessibility information on the project page. (This includes a content warning, how to find the box office, and who to contact on the day of the performance regarding personal accessibility requests.)


3. Confirm your venue’s accessibility flags are up to date and accurate for your performances.


4. Ensure that your actors, box office, and production crew know your show’s accessibility plans for audience members, as well as what they can expect.


Town Hall Conversation: Accessibility ‘Flags’ & Practices

In depth definitions were provided for all the accessibility flags utilized on the Hollywood Fringe website, as well as resources and suggestions for how to implement these practices into your production. There was a step by step demonstration of how to add flags for the accessibility features of your show to your project page and performances. (Remember to add the accessibility flags to every performance so they can be searched by patrons on the website.) 


Wiley emphasized the importance of creating a content warning that potential audience members can find on your project page prior to purchasing tickets, stating if the production will contain potentially triggering / harmful content. Content warnings play an important role in ensuring your audience feels safe/ prepared and has the choice to protect themselves from the discussion or portrayal of potentially harmful topics. (Content warning flag can be found under the ‘edit’ tab in ‘admin’ on your project page, whereas all the other accessibility flags are in the ‘edit’ page under ‘performances.’)


Examples of topics that require content warnings, accessibility consultants, and other resources/services can be found at https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/accessibility  


Communicating with your patrons

Through the website you’ll be able to directly communicate with everyone who has purchased tickets to your performance. It is your responsibility to keep them updated if changes happen that affect the accessibility of that performance. We walk through the process of message one or all of the patrons on a given performance’s will call list. 


24 hours before the performance we suggest you send an email to your audience members reminding them of your show’s accessibility information. (Include how to find the box office and who to contact on the day of the performance regarding personal accessibility requests.)


Suggested Box Office Practices

- Provide clear directions & signage

- Consider your audience’s experience

- Be hyper aware of not tokenizing audience members with accessibility requests, while also working your hardest to ensure their access need is met

- Remember that it is better to be clear about what you CAN and CANNOT offer audience members, then to promise something to a ticket buyer you cannot come through on

Audience safety guideline (Not following these guidelines will result in you being prohibited from presenting as a part of the festival.)


- Only non-firing guns (replicas) are permitted for use in Hollywood Fringe Festival shows, and they should NEVER be pointed in the direction of audience members.

- Any physical interaction must be consented to, both in rehearsals & performances. Audience members should have the ability to engage or opt out of any interaction.


Reflection: Questions to ask as you consider your production’s accessibility plan


- What do you think is important for audience members to know before they buy tickets to or attend a performance?

- What do you do throughout the process to learn about and support the access needs of your team?

- Why should producers provide a content warning on their project page and what does that entail?


Final Thoughts 

We recognize that fringe shows happen on a tight schedule with limited budgets, so search for creative solutions unique to your show and the space you’re in. When you’re faced with very real limitations, be honest with your audience members so they have clear expectations as they go into your performance. By making the performances accessible to the community you have the potential to increase the reach of your work and the audience at your show. Thank you for doing your part to make the performances at the Hollywood Fringe as accessible as possible! 


As always if you have any questions along the way you can contact [email protected]