Hello, and welcome to the Ottawa Fringe Festival! 

On this page you will find: 

  • What is the Ottawa Fringe?
  • Our Accessibility Mission statement
  • Access at this year’s Festival 
  • Who to contact for assistance
  • Accessible Show Categories

What is the Ottawa Fringe Festival?

The Ottawa Fringe is Ottawa’s largest and longest-running theatre festival. We provide a space where all artists can produce their work. We are striving to make the festival more accessible for everyone. 

The Ottawa Fringe has no curator. This means that all shows are selected by a lottery draw to get a spot at the festival. Also Ottawa Fringe does not restrict artists’ content or shows. This allows you to experience lots of different kinds of work. For two weeks you can watch shows from Ottawa, nationally and internationally.

Fun fact: 100% of ticket sales go to the artists. Since 1997, we have paid out over $ 2 million to independent artists!

Mission Statement

Accessible is central to Fringe theatre. When we first started out, “accessible” meant “affordable”. We’ve got that part covered. We keep our ticket prices low and offer free programming to make the event as inviting as possible for our audiences.

Here at Ottawa Fringe, we’re working hard to include everyone in our festival. Over the past few years, we’ve been working to make all our venues physically accessible.  Now we’re focusing on creating a Fringe that can adapt to everyone’s access needs.

This year we have created three access features for all of our shows, and have added more transparency for our accessibility show labels. We are also working with consultants to plan and create more access for future festivals. We aim to be AODA compliant and beyond by 2025. 

But real talk: we’re new at this. We’re still learning. And we’re probably going to make some mistakes. That’s okay. We want to get better, and feedback from you is only going to make our festival better. Is there something you think we could be doing? Something we should absolutely not be doing? Let us know by reaching out to us by email [email protected], phone ​613-232-6162 x 207. Drea will aim to respond to you within 24-48 hours. 

Or if you would like you can provide us feedback using our anonymous form found here.

Access at this year’s Festival

This year at Ottawa Fringe we have several different ways to address your access needs. We have defined different categories to help you pick the shows that will best meet your needs.

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Transcripts can available for free. For instructions on how to access the transcripts please read our Access Guide.

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Audio pre-show note

All shows will have an audio pre-show note available on the show’s page. These audio notes will tell you what the show is about, the characters (in order of appearance), and provide some visual descriptions of the characters and the set.


Access Guide

We also have an access guide that will be updated as more information becomes available about our Fringe shows. In this access guide we outline more details about what you can expect from the access features, how to buy a ticket, how to watch a show, definitions and so much more. For the access guide please click here. The access guide is a Google document. If you require alternative formats please contact Drea by email [email protected], or phone: ​613-232-6162 x 207.

Access Policies

Attendant, Personal support workers and Respite Workers

We offer complimentary tickets to attendants, PSWs and Respite workers who are attending the festival with their client. Please contact our box office to reserve your ticket by email [email protected] or call 613-232-6162 x 205.

Show Content Warnings

All shows have in their transcripts any Content warnings that you can look at before you watch the show.

Watching your show

All shows are on-demand and are available for one week after purchasing. You can pause, stop, skip and re-watch them as much as you’d like during that one week period.

If you find a show inaccessible?

If you buy a ticket to a show and you discover that the show is not accessible to you, please contact us. We are more than happy to switch a ticket to another show that you will be able to enjoy.

Need assistance?

Do you have questions about buying tickets or about the shows available this year? 

Please contact our box office:
[email protected]
613-232-6162 x 205.
Box Office hours vary. Please visit ottawafringe.com/boxoffices

Are you having issues streaming your show? 

Please contact our box office: [email protected]

Do you have questions about access at the festival?

Please contact our Access and Outreach Coordinator, Drea (she/her) by email [email protected], or phone: ​613-232-6162 x 207. She will aim to respond to you within 24-48 hours.

Accessible Show Categories: 

ASL icon, two hands, pinching their index and thumbs together with the other three fingers extended. One hand is flipped upside down. Forming the sign for interpreter.
ASL Performances

Some people’s access needs require American Sign Language interpretation (ASL). This means spoken English is interpreted into ASL. These shows will have ASL interpreters who will interpret English into ASL during the show.

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Open Captions

Some people’s access needs require captions. This means captions are available all the time. You do not need to turn them on to see them on the video.

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Physical Storytelling

Some people’s access needs require shows that don’t rely on sound to understand the meaning of the piece. These shows rely on physical body expression for meaning. Speech and/or sounds are either not present or are used minimally. If they are used you will still understand the performance without them. These types of shows could be things like dance or clown shows.

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Visually Described Performance

Some people’s access needs require what the show looks like to be described. These shows will either have the characters describing the visual details as part of the show. Or they will have a professional audio describer who will describe the show. If the show has a professional audio describer, the icon for audio describer will be posted in the show’s description. These shows will have someone who describes the set, costumes, characters and action.

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Sensory Friendly Performance

Some people’s access needs require a more relaxed sensory experience. These shows have no sudden or loud sounds and lighting changes. You are encouraged to come as you are and move around, pause and stop the show, skip things, and be comfortable in your space. Please note that these performances may not have been designed with this in mind. And the standards may vary slightly.

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Relaxed Digital performances

Some people’s access needs require a more relaxed digital experience. These shows have considered this from start to finish. They provide you with all of the information you need to know more about the show in plain language, and you are encouraged to to come as you are and use this digital space the way you want.