Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

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The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is a 14-day annual arts festival held during the month of May in Orlando, Florida. The festival includes theater, music, dance, and art. It was the first American Fringe Festival and has now grown to be the largest in the United States. As the oldest US Fringe Festival, they are celebrated their 25th years in 2015, a milestone for the Central Florida area with 53,000 tickets sold and attendance reaching 72,000.

The Orlando Fringe is where community, creativity and culture connect. Orlando Fringe has been named "Best Festival" for 25 consecutive years in Orlando and has won many numerous local and regional awards and is celebrated as "the most unique cultural event in Florida".


The festival was created in 1992 by Terry Olson, Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst and held in downtown Orlando. [1] Most of the venues were vacant store fronts, that were reconverted into performance spaces. The indoor spaces, as well as an outdoor stage and festival area, were made specifically for the festival. This format continued until 2004 when the festivals events were split between downtown Orlando and Loch Haven Park. Proving to be successful, in 2005 the festival was moved to the Loch Haven Park indefinitely where it has remained to this day. Professional indoor theatres are used at the Shakespeare Theatre and Rep Theatre, which also house a visual component, which is a professionally curated art show. An outdoor stage is found in the middle of the park, which also houses various vendors, and a free outdoor stage. In 2012, Orlando Fringe expanded to the Mennello Museum which housed Kids Fringe. In 2012, it was also announced that three new venues were being added, one in the current Loch Haven Park and two in the nearby Ivanhoe Village neighborhood.

The Orlando Fringe is the oldest Fringe Festival in the United States. It is now held for 14 consecutive days in May, leading up to Memorial Day. Orlando Fringe has had several accolades including being voted the Best of Orlando, Best Festival in the Southeast, and Best Festival in Orlando by the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Weekly, and Watermark. Orlando Fringe is a 501 C3, non-profit which gives 100 percent of all proceeds back to artists. Upwards to 75,000 patrons attend the annual festival. Artists from all over the world descend on Orlando. Orlando Fringe was under the direction of George Wallace from January 2008 to March 2017. Wallace was named Executive Director in 2014 after working nearly 10 years with the organization. Michal Marinaccio preceded Beth Marshall as Producer in 2012. Marshall along with previous Producer Chris Gibson are credited with moving the festival out of downtown.

On September 2, 2016, Orlando Fringe announced, via a video circulated on social media, that they were launching a new festival called The Orlando Fringe Winter-Mini Fest. [2] The first Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest took place January 5-8, 2017.

In 2017, Executive Director George Wallace left the Orlando Fringe to work for the Indianapolis Fringe Festival. [3] Alauna Friskics was named the new Executive Director after a thorough search for a replacement. Alauna was chosen as a result of her work with the nearby Garden Theatre in the city of Winter Garden, Florida and her previous involvement with Orlando Fringe. [4]

In 2019, Micheal Marinaccio moved to the newly created position of Show Director while his former associate producer, Lindsay Taylor stepped into the newly created role of Theatre Producer. [5]

On March 19, 2020, festival organizers announced that due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the 29th Annual Orlando International Fringe Festival was cancelled. [6] Executive Director, Alauna Friskics said of the cancellation, "We have worked countless financial scenarios and considered all stakeholders. We believe this is the most prudent course so the festival can come back strong next year." [7] On April 23, 2020, Orlando Fringe announced an online festival called "Fringe Today" that would span May 12-25, the same dates as the canceled annual festival. [8] The event took place on Zoom and Facebook with the feed broadcast on the festival website. The online event featured live and recorded performances, interviews, and demonstrations. During the opening ceremonies, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer proclaimed that Fringe Today would count as the 29th festival for the organization. [9]

See also


  1. ^ Maupin, Elizabeth (October 27, 2002). "The Cool Dad of the Orlando Arts Scene". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Sikorski, Brian (September 2, 2016). "The Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest Announcemnet". YouTube.
  3. ^ Young, Jessica Bryce (December 1, 2017). "Former Fringe director George Wallace returning to Orlando to lead GLBT Center". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "Why don't guys wash their hands after using the restroom?". Orlando Sentinel. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Kubersky, Seth. "Orlando Fringe Festival names new theater producer". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  6. ^ Palm, Matthew J. "Orlando Fringe cancels 2020 festival in light of coronavirus". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  7. ^ Plotkin, Dave. "2020 Orlando International Fringe festival has been canceled". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  8. ^ Palm, Matthew J. "Orlando Fringe conjures festival spirit online with 'Fringe Today'". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  9. ^ Day 1 - Part 2, retrieved 2020-07-09

External links