The Orlando Fringe announced today that Alauna Friskics has been named the new Executive Director. Alauna currently works as Executive Director of The Garden Theatre in Winter Garden and will be transitioning to her new position with Orlando Fringe beginning in April and joining the staff on a full time basis shortly after the annual festival.
Alauna is no stranger to Orlando Fringe. Her first experience with Fringe was as a volunteer in 1998. She joined the staff as the festival’s Volunteer Coordinator in 1999. Even after moving to Chicago for graduate school, Alauna returned to Orlando Fringe as the producer for Mission IMPROVable. In 2002, she moved back to Orlando and was hired by Orlando Fringe to be the festival’s Financial Manager and Co-Producer.
“I love Fringe because it fosters accessibility to a wide range of artistic experiences in a low-risk environment for the artist, producer and the audience. This is the perfect recipe for creativity to flourish,” said Alauna.
After leaving Orlando Fringe, she moved on to a position within The Central Florida Performing Arts Alliance. In 2006, Alauna began working for The Garden Theatre where she renovated the venue, worked to open it, and as their Executive Director, grew The Garden Theatre into a $1.4 million, multi-genre performing arts venue that has been credited with revitalizing the downtown Winter Garden district.
“The Garden Theatre has been a part of my core identity for over a decade. Choosing to leave an organization that I built from the ground up is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” added Alauna. “As I was exploring this position I was pleasantly surprised to see many similarities in the Garden and the Fringe. Both non-profits have experienced tremendous and rapid growth and both are positioned for continued success. The idea that I could have an impact on both organizations was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
The search for a replacement for George Wallace, who left the position at the end of February, was not an easy one.
“We interviewed quite a few really impressive candidates, which made our hunt for the perfect ED exciting, but a little more difficult,” said Orlando Fringe Board of Directors President Joyce Arbucias. “Ultimately, we were looking for someone that not only had the experience and understanding of working with a nonprofit, but also someone who embraced and understood the philosophy of the Fringe and our commitment to creating opportunities for both artists and the audience. We have some really dedicated folks who have been attending the festival and volunteering with us for 25 years. We felt like we owed it to them to find someone who really understood the unique and sometimes quirky culture of the Fringe and would work to preserve that, while also growing our festival and welcoming new patrons. I believe Alauna is uniquely suited for that role, and I’m really excited to start working with her.”
“Building on the success of George Wallace’s tenure,” said Alauna, “I am committed to using my nonprofit management experience to take Fringe to the next level.”
The Orlando Fringe Board of Directors has created a transition plan that sees Alauna working hand-in-hand with the transition team through the festival and taking the reins shortly afterward.