Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival
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 one of the largest in the United States. As the oldest US Fringe Festival, they are celebrating 24 years in 2015, a milestone for the Central Florida area.
The Orlando Fringe is where community, creativity and culture connect. Orlando Fringe has been named "Best Festival" for nineteen 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. 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 professioanally 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 third largest and 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 50,000 partons attend the annual festival. Artists from all over the world descend on Orlando for the opportunity to perform. The 24th Annual Orlando Fringe will be held May 13–26, 2015 under the direction on of George Wallace and Michael Marinaccio, dubbed as the "Abbot and Costello of Orlando Theatre". Wallace was named Executive Director in 2014 after working nearly 10 years with the organization.
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