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 22 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 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 is under the direction of George Wallace. 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.
In 2017, Executive Director George Wallace left the Orlando Fringe to work for the Indianapolis Fringe Festival. 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.
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