May 15- 28, 2013
There's more to the Orlando area than wizards and princesses; there's also a year-round schedule of art and entertainment that all ages and tastes can appreciate. One of the best entries on Central Florida's cultural calendar is the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, an annual event that features 14 days of theater, art, music, and more. With more than 500 performers and 90 theater companies contributing to the entertainment, you know there is always something for everyone, and more than anyone can possibly see.
The 2013 Orlando Fringe Festival is taking place May 15 through May 28. This 14-day festival is full of theater, music, and dance where 100% of the ticket sales go straight back to the artists and actors. In 2012 alone, over $250,000 was returned to participating artists. This accessible and affordable festival provides entertainment that is appropriate for all ages - some productions are great for families while others are aimed at adults - and seeks to inspire creative excellence in the Orlando community and beyond. People travel here from across the country and around the world as a result of this 22-year-old festival's excellent international reputation.
The 2013 Festival
The Orlando Fringe Festival got its start in 1992, but the story actually goes back further. Fringe Festivals began in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947 where a number of performance artists decided to produce their own work in empty storefronts or church basements. These artists were not participants of the Edinburgh International Festival, and were therefore considered "on the fringe" of the scheduled festival events.
This trend of artists presenting their uncensored work spread throughout Europe, North America, and beyond creating a whole new philosophy behind a festival. Traditions continue from the original fringe festivals at the Orlando Fringe Festival. One of the biggest traditions is giving 100 percent of ticket proceeds back to the artists. The Orlando festival is actually the longest running fringe festival in the U.S.
Since 1992 the Orlando Fringe Festival has grown greatly; once scattered in derelict storefronts around downtown, the event is now comfortably homed in the charming Ivanhoe Village area north of downtown. In 2013, the festival will again center around beautiful Loch Haven Park, including Lowndes Shakespeare Center and the Orlando REP. Also participating for the first time are the nearby stages at Theatre Downtown and The Venue.
On the weekends, KIDS FRINGE takes over the neighboring Mennello Museum of American Art with family-focused free shows, games, and crafts. Visual Fringe brings art and sculpture to the forefront with a new warehouse gallery along Alden Road. And don't forget the festival lawn full of food trucks, free live entertainment, and beer!
The Fine Print
The Orlando Fringe Festival is packed with a variety of performances and is on a tight schedule. In order to enter any performance, you must be wearing a Fringe Button . This button costs $8 (cash only) and is a one-time purchase. However, you must be wearing the button at all performances. If you lose it or leave it at home, you must purchase another button.
All proceeds (except for a $1 per ticket service fee) go directly to the artists. There are no advance sales for buttons; they can only be purchased at the festival. Tickets for specific Fringe shows can be purchased online via the official festival website or at the box office. Theater-goers should also be aware that the festival has a policy of no late entry to shows; arrive early because free parking can be hard to find during prime performance times.