Funny fanny physio says freedom day meaningless without fringe toilets

Elaine Miller is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and won the Comedy Award at Fringe World in 2020 with her show about pelvic floors, “Gusset Grippers”.

An enquiry about accessibility for her new show, “Viva Your Vulva” from a woman who uses a wheelchair highlighted that the Mobiloo was not on the Fringe website for this year. “My new show is a walking tour in order to get round covid. I designed it to be near the Mobiloo, so when I learned it wasn’t booked I was exasperated!”

Mobiloo is a portable unit with a toilet, hoist and an adult changing table so that people with disabilities can participate in festivals and events from which they are normally excluded. The Fringe Society and Edinburgh University have previously funded the unit at the Fringe, but budget cuts meant the service was not available this year.

Elaine specialises in pelvic health so continence and toilets are her focus. “I don’t want to live in a society where people with disabilities are prevented from enjoying the biggest arts festival in the world. Public toilets are closed in Edinburgh’s Old Town, so the city has resurrected the Urinary Leash. Suffragists campaigned against this by demanding public toilets so that women could travel and participate in society. I created my own protest by booking Mobiloo for the only weekend they had available so people with disabilities can participate in this year’s Fringe.”

Edinburgh University and the Fringe Society responded to Elaine’s plea positively and agreed to host Mobiloo on it’s usual spot at Appleton Tower, Crichton St, on the weekend of 21/22 August.

Unfortunately, the Mobiloo unit was stolen on 5th August. It has been recovered but was vandalised. Elaine has set up a crowdfunder to help cover the cost of the repairs.

Elaine says “My lungs are not big enough to give the size of sigh needed to express my feelings about the way that society says inclusion matters but doesn’t make provision for disabled people, some of whom literally have no voice. Fringe toilets matter and I am so pleased Edinburgh University and the Fringe Society are willing to help. I need to spread the word so people know that the Mobiloo is coming and they should book tickets for The Fringe.

It might be Freedom Day, but people with bowel and bladder problems or accessibility issues are still stuck at home. Edinburgh can do better.”