Orlando Fringe festival kicks off this week with new partnership announcement

ORLANDO, Fla. — The longest-running theater festival of its kind in the U.S. returns to Central Florida this week.

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The Orlando Fringe festival kicks off its 31st year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at 7 p.m. at its outdoor stage at Loch Haven Park.

The 14-day arts festival lasts through May 30, followed by an online component June 3-17. The festival will include more than 800 eclectic theater performances for any audiences across multiple venues.

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Tickets range from free to $15. Artists keep 100% of the base ticket price, according to Fringe. Click here to purchase.

Fringe will also include visual fringe, a visual art portion, a free festival for children and families on Saturdays and Sundays during Fringe, and the return of the free outdoor stage.

Along with the festival is the kickoff of World Fringe Congress, a meeting of Fringe producers, managers and directors from across the globe, taking place May 19-23 at Orlando Science Center.

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This year’s Fringe festival starts with some expansion too.

Fringe has entered a new partnership with the city of Orlando to create an arts accelerator program, as well as enter into a multiyear lease agreement for Fringe to operate the theatrical performance space at 54 W. Church St. and expand on the formula of what Fringe is, according to a news release.

“One of the highest priorities of the city’s shared vision for downtown Orlando is to have a strong presence of cultural and arts amenities within the urban core for all to enjoy,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in the news release. “Fringe has a long history of supporting artists across Orlando and we look forward to how they will activate the space and further our efforts of growing our burgeoning arts scene.”

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The space will host an accelerator program that fosters and mentors local emerging arts organizations, as well as full theatrical runs, recruited shows, educational programming and more.

Orlando’s Community Redevelopment Agency approved a $307,000 grant to assist with activating the new space at West Church Street and launching the accelerator program.

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“Our commitment is to ensure that we are creating and fostering an inclusive, equitable, and collaborative environment,” Alauna Friskics, executive director, said in the news release. “One that promotes participation and openly recruits diverse stories and performances. Ultimately, our greatest ambition is that artists and patrons of any background will see themselves represented in the work showcased at Fringe at 54 West Church and that we might serve as a model and inspiration to other artists and arts organizations in our own community and around the world.”

The new space is expected to open in early 2023.


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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.