ARG is committed to making live comedy more accessible and inclusive, and ensuring that live comedy is welcoming to all audiences, artists and staff.

Live open captioning

12 million people in the UK are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. ARG believes in championing accessibility and inclusion and we are aware that there remains insufficient access provision within live comedy, particularly at grassroots level.

This year we are delighted to again be working with Claire Hill, who will be providing live captioning for a number of performances throughout the festival weekend. Claire has 25 years of experience as a stenographer, including James Acaster and Bridget Christie’s national tours with Little Wander.

Claire will write the captions in real time and these will be displayed using projection or a standalone screen placed downstage, whatever is most appropriate for the venue. We will reserve appropriate seats for those who require the live captioning service so they have a clear view of the text.

Whilst we have been unable to provide access provision across the whole festival, we are pleased to say that The Friday Night Show — a spectacular, star-studded showcase of comedians at the top of their game — will be live captioned. Throughout the weekend, there will live captioning on at least half of the shows in our largest preview space.

Once the full schedule is released, captioned performances will be marked on the Line-up and Schedule pages, as well as the printed programmes on the festival weekend. Captioning will be indicated with a standard TEXT symbol.

We are aware that this is just a start and keenly understand the importance of including access provision as standard across all our programming. We are proud to see that more venues and promoters are taking accessibility into consideration and as a festival, we are committed to expanding our access offer to include alternative provision (such as British Sign Language) and to cover our whole festival programme by 2028.

We are delivering this year's live captioning without any external funding or subsidy, and we are always looking to improve and learn. Please do get in touch if you have any thoughts or suggestions. You can contact us at [email protected].

Step-free access, lift use and wheelchair users

Both ARGComFest and Shoreditch Town Hall are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment and every stage and bar that ARGComFest uses has step-free access available for audience members.

Shoreditch Town Hall can offer visitors a passenger lift that provides step-free access to:

  • the basement — which includes the festival box office, the main bar, and two of our venues (the Rivington Room and the Garden Studio);
  • the ground floor — which includes the foyer, the toilets and the step-free route into the building; and
  • the first floor — which includes our third venue (the Annexe) and typically another bar.

The step-free route into the building is using a platform lift from the street to the ground floor foyer.

If you’re coming to The Friday Night Show, this takes place in the Assembly Hall. The Assembly Hall stalls can be accessed step-free via this lift, but the balcony is only accessible via 66 steps with one rest area. Please note that the balcony in the Auditorium does not have step-free access so patrons who may have mobility issues or are wheelchair users should book in the stalls.

We always endeavour to make sure that wheelchair users and others with access requirements have a smooth and simple arrival to the festival and are as close to the action as possible, with good sightlines.

If you would like to book a wheelchair space for The Friday Night Show or for the weekend festival, please contact Shoreditch Town Hall by emailing [email protected] or call them on 020 7739 6176.

If you have specific access requirements for the weekend festival, please contact us by emailing [email protected].

Shoreditch Town Hall also has more information — including a 3D Tour of the building — over on their Access for All page.

If you have any further questions about step-free access or lift use, please email [email protected].