A 14-day-festival that is founded on the concept of offering 100% unjuried, 100% uncensored, 100% accessible theatre, music, dance, and art to all types and ages where 100% of the box office ticket sales go directly back to the artists within The Fringe. The Orlando Fringe is the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States, celebrating 22 years as “Orlando’s most unique cultural experience”. Orlando Fringe is a proud member of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals (USAFF) www.fringefestivals.us and the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) www.fringefestivals.com.
The mission of the Orlando Fringe is to provide an accessible, affordable outlet that draws diverse elements of the community together and inspires creative excellence through the arts.
The history of Fringe Festivals began in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947. There, a number of performing artists who were not official participants of the Edinburgh International Festival (whose participants are invited by its General Director) decided to produce their own work in empty stores and church basements. Thus, their work was staged literally “on the fringe” of the established festival. The concept was an immediate success and the Fringe soon became as – if not more – popular as the “official” Edinburgh Festival. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as of 2012 is the largest festival in the world and Europe’s #1 tourist destination.
Following the example of the Edinburgh Fringe, other Fringe Festivals sprang up in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia in the following decades, many of which follow the true Fringe philosophy – to provide artists with the opportunity to show their work in an uncensored and unjuried environment and to give 100% of ticket sales back to them.
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival was created in 1992 by Terry Olson (now Director of the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst). At first, the festival was held in downtown Orlando, with most venues being created in empty storefronts specifically for the festival. This continued until 2004, when the festival was split between downtown Orlando and Loch Haven Park. The move to Loch Haven proved a success and so, from 2005 on, the festival has been entirely in Loch Haven Park, utilizing The Lowndes Shakespeare Center and Orlando REP as venues. In 2012, Mennelo Museum joined Orlando Fringe as the venue for Kids Fringe.