Accessing the Festival Theatre

Capital Theatres aim to be accessible to all and we are committed to making your visit to our theatres as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. We offer a range of accessible performances (Audio Description, British Sign Language Interpreted, Captioned and Touch Tours) on the majority of our shows. Use the filter options on the What's On section to find access performances.

Visual Guide

This visual resource has been specially created for anyone who would like additional support or information about visiting the theatre. This might include people with autism, learning difficulties, sensory disorders, first time visitors or those whose first language is not English.

Download Visual Guide Here

Arriving at the Festival Theatre

Access from the road to the front of the theatre is up six steps with one handrail or up a pavement ramp. Level access is also available at the side entrance to the Café if required.

Wheelchair access is available from street-level access direct into the stalls. Please ask our customer services team on arrival for assistance.

If you are arriving by car, please note that there are double yellow lines on Nicolson Street directly outside the theatre. As it is the main traffic route, there is no parking at restricted times from 8am to 9.15am and from 4.30pm to 6pm. There are no designated Blue Badge parking spaces on Nicolson St, but single yellow lines and Pay and Display spaces are available on side streets.

We have parking spaces in the courtyard for patrons with accessibility requirements, we also offer a drop-off and pick-up service. A space, for either service, can be booked in advance by calling Stage Door on 0131 662 1112 or email  We will ask for your name, registration, phone number, and which performance or event you are attending.

Inside the Festival Theatre, there is lift access to all levels.

Lifts have voice synthesisers to assist visitors.  

At the Box Office

The Box Office is situated in the foyer of the Festival Theatre and has a drop counter. Tickets can also be booked by calling 0131 529 6000, online or by using Text relay on 18002 0131 529 6003. If you have any specific seating requirements please let the box office know when you book your tickets.


At the Festival Theatre, all seats are 45cm wide.

The Stalls has the best opportunity for leg room, and the entirety of Row R looks onto an aisle and has no seats directly in front, making it most suitable for people who require additional leg room. There are also many seats on an aisle - please refer to our seating plan or ask a member of Box Office to advise.

Our Stalls seats have a back 51cm high and have 50cm of legroom. Stalls seats are 43cm high off the floor.

Dress Circle seat backs are 51cm high and have 42cm of legroom, except for Row M which has 35cm legroom.

In the Upper Circle, seat backs are 40cm high. Rows A - F have 40cm legroom, and rows G - L have 37cm legroom.

All of our auditorium seats have arm rests that do not move.

Wheelchair users

There are eight spaces in the stalls for wheelchair users, with adjacent seats for companions.

Please let us know all of your requirements at the time of booking. To book a wheelchair space, please call the Box Office on 0131 529 6000; this will help us to prepare for your visit.

For extra assistance we offer the use of the theatre wheelchair. To pre-book a theatre wheelchair, please call 0131 622 8109.

Assistance with hearing

The Festival Theatre has a Sennheiser infrared system available in central areas of the auditorium. Box Office will happily advise you on the best seats for reception. Headsets can be collected, free of charge, from the cloakroom on the lower ground floor mezzanine. A Sennheiser personal loop system is available for hearing aid users.

Please note that at some performances, audio equipment, headsets and adapters are in high demand but we will do all we can to accommodate your needs.

Audio Description and Touch Tours

Many of the shows that come to Capital Theatres provide Audio Described performances for those who are visually impaired. This service uses the Sennheiser infrared system such that you can utilise one of our headsets to have the visual elements of the performance described to you throughout.

In conjunction with the Audio Description performances, we also offer touch tours beforehand such that you can touch various elements of the set, props and costumes, to further contextualise the performance.

Use the Audio Description filter on the What's on page to find relevant performance times.

British Sign Language Interpretation

We generally present sign language interpreted performances on Saturday matinees of week long shows, with the interpreter standing at the front of the stage such that deaf or hard of hearing audience members can follow the spoken narrative alongside the visual elements of the performance.

Seats in the stalls generally provide the best view of the BSL interpreter, and box office can advise of this further in your booking process.

Use the BSL - British Sign Language filter on the What's on page to find relevant performance times.


Captioned performances generally take place on Thursday evenings of week long shows and they work similarly to subtitles on a film, with caption screens on either side of the stage with the text appearing as its being spoken by the performers. This function aids deaf or hard of hearing audience members to follow the the spoken narrative alongside the visual elements of the performance.

Use the Captioned filter on the What's on page to find relevant performance times.

Relaxed Performances

Some of our key associate companies including Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera and the annual Pantomime create relaxed performances of their large scale productions.

These performances are designed to make you feel welcome, relaxed and well-supported, we’ll have lots of trained staff on hand to help with any access needs, anyone can feel free to make noise and move around the auditorium, we’ll keep the lights on, but dimmed to reduce anxiety, and we’ll provide break out spaces with a live stream of the show so that if people feel the need to leave the auditorium they won’t miss the action.

Use the Relaxed Performances filter on the What's on page to find performances.

Ear Defenders

Ear Defenders are available and can be collected from the merchandise desk which is located on the first floor, stalls level 1.

Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs are most welcome at our venues. We will be pleased to look after them during the performance if required. We also provide water bowls.

Accessible toilets

There are unisex accessible toilets on levels one and two of the theatre – all have emergency call buttons.


The Festival Theatre Café on the ground floor has level access, and all bars have lift access. Please note that our bar areas do not offer refreshments after the performance; only before and during the interval.

After the Show

Our Front of House staff will be happy to order a taxi after the performance for those with mobility issues.


Artlink (Edinburgh and the Lothians) provide a volunteer companion service for people who have difficulty in attending performances. For details please telephone 0131 229 3555 (Mon - Fri).

Braille, audio and large text versions of our brochure are available. Please contact the marketing department on 0131 662 1112 to be added to the mailing list.

BSL and audio interpretations are now available on certain parts of our website. Audio versions of our website are made possible by Lothiansound.