Looking back at our journey
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White underpants with red fringe attached to them were mailed to members of the press with an invitation to a press “briefing” to learn about the 1st Annual Orlando Fringe Festival.
Started by Terry Olson, Andy Anthony, and Rick Kunst, the first festival is held in Downtown Orlando and run by Orlando Theatre Project.
The festival started with a one-block “parade” down Church Street with the “World’s Worst Marching Band”
Buttons cost $2 and tickets are $7
34 performance groups and four venues are used.
Performers were chosen on a first-come-first-served basis.
Venues were built out of abandoned storefronts in Downtown Orlando and identified by colored air tubes on the sides of the buildings.
The Fringe Art Gallery featured the works of 28 local artists.
The total annual operating budget was $79,000.
International acts were from England, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
The festival is 10 days in late April and featured almost 200 indoor performances.
25,000 – 30,000 people attended, doubling the number from the year before.
35 performance groups from as far away as Uganda, The United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada.
2 venues were added bringing the total to 6 and an expanded market area was added.
The TheatreSports International Tournament took place during the festival.
Orlando becomes the most southern member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals and is a proud member.
The fourth festival saw 50,000 attendees.
The festival expanded to 6 venues.
Downtown merchants offered discounts to customers with Fringe buttons for the first time.
Fringe provided change in $2 bills to show the economic impact of the festival.
Local playwright, Michael Wanzie, premiered his play In Close Quarters.
Fringe ran concurrently with the Orlando Shakespeare Festival and the Orlando Sentinel Book Fair.
It rained nearly every day of the festival.
The very first Kids Fringe is held.
Orlando Fringe forms its very first Board of Directors and adopts its own bylaws.
He was originally created to market the festival in 1995 and was displayed on the 1995 poster and button. Fringezilla is now the official mascot of Orlando Fringe and a friend of Kids Fringe. He has changed his looks throughout the years.
70,000 people attended the festival.
The festival expanded to 7 venues.
It rained many of the days of the festival which made traveling between the scattered downtown venues rather difficult.
There was a bungee-bounce attraction.
Orlando Sentinel covered all 10 days of the festival in the print edition and reviewed 20 shows.
The festival took place April 12-21
An outdoor community stage where anyone can perform for free is added.
The Orlando Sentinel Rave Stage was added where no one older than 18 years-old was allowed on stage.
The Oops Guys, Dennis, and Fiely make their Fringe debut with The Golden Guys.
With empty downtown storefronts getting filled and the LYNX bus route construction, Fringe was wondering about the future and held a public brainstorming session.
The festival took place April 11-20.
To raise funds for the festival, 3 Sak Comedy Lab actors performed on their feet for 29 hours straight.
The location was moved 6 blocks north to the corner of Livingston and Orange Avenue.
For the first time ever, Fringe had only one producer. Founder, Andy Anthony.
Kids Fringe attendance spikes and expands to four days and was the most popular to date.
Overall Festival attendance overall dropped dramatically due to cold weather and rain on 6 of the 10 days, as well as downtown construction.
Maximum ticket price increases to $9
Tod Kimbro premiered Zombie Doorman starring Michael Marinaccio.
The festival took place April 17-26.
Fringe moved back to Church Street between Orange and Magnolia Avenues.
Fringe Preview becomes an annual tradition.
Paula Whigham serves as Volunteer Coordinator.
Toxic Audio debuted at the festival. They went on to become Vox Audio and had a successful off-Broadway run.
The festival took place April 16-25.
Matt Wohl is named Festival Producer.
Fringe moved the home base, including the outdoor stage, to The Plaza at Church Street Market.
Orlando Fringe is ranked the #1 US Fringe Festival for attendance with 13,000 tickets sold and # 1 among US Festivals for dollars returned with over $60,000 going back to artists.
Orlando Fringe is ranked #5 in North America for both attendance and dollars being returned to artists.
Orlando Fringe makes the commitment to hold 25% of the performing slots open to minority artists and is the only Fringe Festival at that time in the world to make that commitment.
Orlando Fringe’s mission statement is revamped.
The festival moved its home base, including its outdoor stage, to the plaza at Church Street Market.
The first Umbrella Awards were handed out.
Alauna McMillen served as Volunteer Coordinator
The festival took place April 28-May 7. The Oops Guys presented The Naked Guy which ended with a quick scene of full-frontal male nudity. A police raid was threatened causing Dennis Giacino and Fiely Matias to remove the scene on opening night but the City of Orlando later said it was a “miscommunication.” Tod Kimbro returned with LOUD, a hit show that was later nominated for the M Elizabeth Osborn Award for Emerging Playwrights.
The festival took place April 20-29.
Brook Hanemann, who co-produced the 9th festival, is named Festival Producer.
The outdoor stage was moved from Church Street Market to Heritage Square in front of the Orange County Regional History Center
This was the last Fringe held in April.
Fringe had overvome a huge financial deficit.
Fire broke out in the old Bryan Hotel on West Church Street.
It was where Fringe stored schedule boards, podiums, the colorful air tubes, and our archives. No programs or photos survived.
Everything was lost.
A new staff member, with a master’s degree in arts management, Alauna McMillen, worked the budget and made tough choices to help Fringe survive. Almost 20 years later, Alauna McMillen Friskics is now the Executive Director and did the same thing to help the organization survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joel Springman, owner of serveral bars and restaurants on Wall Street Plaza, stages a fundraiser with a $10 cover and free food, drink, and entertainment.
The Back Booth, held a benefit with a $5 cover charge, music by Dirty Candy and Where’s Moo, and $5 raffle tickets on sale for various prizes.
Visual artists created an auction called Art Helps Art and donated the proceeds to Orlando Fringe.
The festival took place May 10-19.
Chris Gibson was named Festival Producer and he moved the festival to May to help Theme Park employees participate in Fringe.
Jae Nale becomes the Outdoor Events Manager for Fringe.
Orlando Fringe’s international artist attendance plummets after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
T.J. Dawe presented The Slip-Knot and Eric Pinder presented Waiting for Napoleon.
Joe’s NYC Bar presented a special Fringe edition.
The festival took place May 16-25.
Seattle Fringe closes, making Orlando Fringe the longest continuous running Fringe Festival in the United States. Seattle was the first official Fringe Festival in the United States, followed by Orlando and San Francisco (Orlando Fringe is just six months older).
Orlando Fringe sells tickets online for the first time. During the 2003 festival, 1,200 tickets were sold overall.
T-Mobile sponsored the festival and provided Fringe with their new “sidekicks” to help communication between venues.
Orlando Opera participated in Fringe this year and promoted their show by walking around downtown wearing towels and a shower curtain.
Heavy rain caused flooding in venues with resulted in venues being relocated and show start times being delayed.
Non-Fringe outdoor concerts taking place in Downtown Orlando created noise pollution during shows which opened discussions to relocate the festival away from downtown.
Even with the trouble with the weather, Orlando Fringe returned more than $100,000 to the artists during the 10-day festival.
Festival Producer Chris Gibson made agreements with the theatre venues in Loch Haven Park to try to hold performances there in order to escape from the hardships of staging the festival downtown.
The festival took place May 20-30 and was split between Downtown Orlando and Loch Haven Park.
Chris Gibson announced he was leaving Fringe but before he did, he hired Beth Marshall as a new Associate Producer.
Eric Pinder presented Driving Miss Cherry Blossom, Michael Andrew stared in The Nutty Professor.
The festival took place May 19-30.
After the closing of the 13th Fringe, Beth Marshall became the Producing Artistic Director.
The entire festival made the move to Loch Haven Park.
To save costs, the festival reduced to 6 venues from 12 the year before.
For the first time, Fringe had a centralized box office. You could no longer buy tickets at the individual venues.
Memorial Day 2005 became the first “Patrons’ Pick” day.
Memorable shows of the year: Theme Park Diva and The Miss Sammy Show, Episode 1: A Day in the Life of Miss Sammy.
The 2005 festival ended without debt and the future was looking bright.
The festival took place May 18-29.
Michael Wanzie’s The Lion Queen and the Naked Go-Go Cub which became the top-selling show in history of the festival.
The 2006 Fringe was the most successful festival to date with attendance up 38 percent and button sales up 28 percent.
The festival took place May 17-28.
The “Green Lawn of Fabulousness” was born.
4 Fringe buttons were available with 60’s inspired protest images.
VarieTEASE: Carnival premiered.
Orlando Fringe gets its first billboard.
Amy Hadley is named Technical Director.
Artist payments exceed $200,000 for the first time.
Orlando Fringe is one of the founding members of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals.
Orlando hosted the 2008 conference of all members.
The festival took place May 15-26.
Festival buttons reflected the 100% mandates of the festival.
Orlando Sentinel reviewed every show at the festival for the first time in Orlando Fringe’s history.
Visual Fringe has its most successful year in history.
The festival took place May 14-25.
The 2009 festival was dubbed “Hurricane Fringe” when it rained for 9 of the 12 days.
The first economic impact study is completed showing Fringe contributed $1.46 million dollars to the local economy.
The festival took place May 20-31.
Israel and Japan were represented at the festival for the first time.
Miss Hiccupp performed.
Chase Padgett presented 6 Guitars.
Jeff Ferree opened a closet at The Lowndes Shakespeare Center as The Jaime Mykins Theatre and presented Capt. Discovery and “Escape to Planet C.”
The Creative Mind Experiement gives birth to Dog Powered Robot.
The festival took place May 18-13
It expanded to 13 days.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary, the theme was a Fringe High School Reunion. Fringe Buttons resembled “Hello My Name Is” stickers.
George Wallace was named General Manager. He worked alongside Beth Marshall who became Festival Producer.
Fringe superfans David Horgan, Ed Anthony, and Myron Blattner formed DEM Guys and began sponsoring the festival’s Green Venue.
The Oops Guys Dennis Giacino and Fiely Matias debuted their new show Bitches of the Kingdom which later had an Off-Broadway run as Disenchanted.
At the end of the festival, Beth Marshall announced she was resigning.
Michael Marinaccio was named Festival Producer
A new Fringe logo debuted designed by Adam McCabe.
Fab Fringe moves to Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios where Orlando Fringe hosts its largest scale fundraiser to date. Toxic Audio returned to Fringe for the special fundraiser.
The festival was held May 16-28.
The first-ever Terry Olson Lifetime Achievement Award is given.
Kids Fringe is moved to Mennello Museum and sees a nearly 500% increase in attendance. Genevieve Bernard is named Kids Fringe Producer.
The World Fringe Congress is held in Edinburgh, Scottland.
Orlando Fringe was a founding member.
George Wallace and Michael Marinaccio attended.
The festival took place May 15-28.
Red Venue moved from the outdoor tent in the courtyard of the Lowndes Shakespeare Center to an upstairs rehearsal space.
Two new venues are added. Theatre Downtown (Bronze) and The Venue (Black) on Virginia Drive. It’s the first time since 2005, venues are found outside of Loch Haven Park.
Over 100 ticketed shows are presented.
A Bike Valet was added to the festival.
Critic’s Choice Awards are given out for the first time.
Visual Fringe is presented outside of Loch Haven Park at a warehouse on Alden Road, including an 18-hole miniature golf course created by artists.
Walt Disney World became a presenting sponsor.
Universal Orlando Foundation provided financial sponsorship of Kids Fringe.
Rain and a competing concert by Paul McCartney made for a slow first weekend.
Performances throughout the year begin.
Including, Little Miss Fringe Festival by Jeff Jones, Strange Dreams by Kevin Thornton and God is a Scottish Drag Queen by Mike Delamont.
The festival took place May 14-27.
Fringe reduced one venue this year, removing the Bronze Venue at Theatre Downtown.
Foodies at the Fringe launched, bringing local restaurants to the lawn for one-night-only pop-up events. Participating restaurants included: Santiago’s Bodega, The Bohemian Baker, The Spork Café, and Hawkers Asian Street Fare.
Shadrach’s Fiery Furance Traveling Pizza Co. set up a sit-down restaurant on the lawn complete with a full menu and servers.
Orlando Museum of Art presented the Visual Fringe art exhibition as well an art bazaar.
Free entertainment on the Outdoor Stage was expanded.
The 2014 Season included:
Seasons by Elaine Pechacek and Katie Hammond
There’s No Place Like Home by Michael Wanzie
Reincarnation Soup by Viet Nguyen
The Screw You Review by Dewie Chaffee and Douglas McGeoch
Merry Fringein’ XMAS III
Wanderlust, The Surprise, and The Holy Land Experience all by Martin Dockery
Donating Sperm to My Sister’s Wife and Darwin Vs. Rednecks by Stewart Huff
Orlando Fringe hosts 70 Fringes from around the world.
The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals took place November 5-7.
The United States Associations of Fringe Festivals took place November 8-9.
The Lowndes Shakespeare Center was the host site.
Orlando Comfort Suites was the hotel sponsor of the event.
The festival took place May 13-25
An economic impact study shows Orlando Fringe’s impact surpasses 2 million dollars in local revenue.
Orlando Museum of Art becomes a venue (Gold Venue) for the first time.
Attendance surged by 30% making it the most financially successful festival in history, with more than $375,000 in artist payments.
Orlando Fringe moves its year-round operations to Loch Haven Park being housed inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
Fringe Teens is created featuring 8 local high schools.
Sissy by Kitty Puncher performs a show in the Men’s Room of the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
Popular shows from Fringe past returned this year, The Lion Queen and the Naked Go-Go Cub, Dragness of God, 6 Guitars, and Joe’s NYC Bar.
The Republic was a site-specific interactive theatrical performance in a converted warehouse.
Paula had worked for Fringe in the past in positions, such as Kids Fringe Producer and Volunteer Coordinator.
“Christmas in Flori-DUH”
The festival took place January 5-8.
It consisted of only four venues and 21 shows.
Shows were hand-picked to be some of the best from the past festival.
Shows included: Edgar Allan, Stump, The Foreplay: An Exploration of the Birth of our Nation, Eric Pinder’s My Mislabeled Youth, and a Movies Out Loud screening of The Spice Girls movie Spice World.
George leaves to take a position at Indy Fringe. Fred Berning Jr. was promoted to Acting Executive Director and shared duties with Board Vice-President, Doug Davis.
After a search, on March 6, 2017, Alauna Friskics (McMillen) is named Executive Director. She previously worked as Executive Director of Garden Theatre. During her transition, she observed the 2017 festival and began her role in September of 2018.
Broadway star, Carrie Manolakos, headlines Fab Fringe.
The festival took place May 16-29
Fringe expands to 14 days with The Opening Ceremony and the Teaser show on Tuesday and shows beginning on Wednesday.
Theme of the year was “Stay Curious” with the tagline of “If You Don’t Go, You’ll Never Know”
The Orlando Fringe hosted a record-breaking 166 ticketed shows (over 950 performances) and was able to provide $452,641 in artist payouts over the run of the 14-day event which attracted 70,400 attendees from as far away as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Kids Fringe brought in over 9,500 parents and children and moved to a new location behind the Orlando Fire Museum.
Junior Achievement was added as a new venue (White)
Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park was added as a BYOV location.
Ticket prices were raised to a maximum of $12.
Over $3,500 was returned to the schools through Fringe Teens ticket sales.
Orlando Fringe presented the Chad C. Cronon Memorial Scholarship to Carrli C. Cooper from West Orange High School and Fringe Teen Scholarships were given to Forrest Keith Stringfellow of Spruce Creek High School and Lauren Nicole Koval of University High School.
Orlando Fringe produces its first 5/5 production where six different arts groups and theatre companies produce a fifth of an entire story. The inaugural performance was of the Mel Brooks classic, Young Frankenstein.
The festival took place January 11-14.
The opening ceremonies were hosted by Finger Puppet Charles Dickens, played by Mike Carr, who was joined in finger puppet form by Alauna Friskics and Michael Marinaccio with a miniature Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
Fab Fringe moves to The Plaza Live and features the hit Fringe show Josephine: The Cabaret Dream Play staring Tymisha Harris.
The festival took place May 15-28.
The festival’s theme was “United We Fringe”
Barbara Poma led a special information session about the plans for the future memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub tragedy.
Lisa Hardt replaces Tommi Pritchett as Development Coordinator
The next Five Fifths production spoofs the classic horror film, The Exorcist.
The festival took place January 10-13
The four-day event used three venues inside The Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
The schedule changed this year. Instead of 100% hit shows from years past, a mix of hits, with new works from favorite Fringe performers, and works by performers that have never performed in Orlando before.
Orlando premiers included, You Belong Here, Kafka and Son, The Bald Soprano, La Baker Cabaret, Heart Attacks & Other Blessings, Into the Meta, and A Nightmare on East Hastings.
A new friendlier look for Fringezilla was revealed at the 4th Annual Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest.
Fab Fringe moves to The Abbey with a showing of the hit show El Wiz and a Wizard of Oz-themed VIP reception after the show at The Mezz.
Development Coordinator Lisa Hardt and Associate Produer Lindsay Taylor stay up for 24 hours in a live online fundraising telathon.
The festival took place May 14-27.
This year’s Fringe was proclaimed “The Best Year Ever” as attendance was at an all-time high with ticket sales and alcohol sales growing as well.
A pilot program was launched that offered American Sign Language translation at a number of performances.
Visual Fringe sold a record 77 pieces of art.
Orlando Fringe reached over 10 million views on social media in the weeks leading to and during the festival.
Orlando Fringe produces Kids Fringe Campy Camps.
Two sessions for rising K, 1st, and 2nd graders June 10-14, and July 22-26.
Campers took part in puppetry, storytelling, drum circles, creative movement, art projects, and more.
Kids were treated to professional performances and participated in a “shareformance.”
Lindsay Taylor, who served as Associate Producer in prior years, moves to the new Theatre Producer role.
The hit shows The Animatronicans and The Animatronicans: Under New Management from Jeff Jones, returns to a double feature performance at Orlando Museum of Art
With the upcoming opening of the new Harriet’s Orlando Ballet Centre, Orlando Fringe made plans to with Orlando Ballet to make their new facility a hub of activity during the annual festival. Plans were made to add three venues to the location as well as a new Fringe bar and lounge space.
The festival took place January 9 – 12, 2020.
20 shows were featured over the four days.
A staged reading series was added which gave audiences the chance to take a peek into the creative process in bringing a show to Fringe in May.
Kids Fringe held its first Mini-Mini-Fest which proved to be an overwhelming success. It featured free games and activities for kids as well as two separately ticketed performances for kids.
Visual Fringe had artists on hand selling art while creating at the event.
Fab Fringe moves to Orlando Museum of Art for a groovy 60’s themed party.
March 19, 2020, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, Orlando Fringe makes the difficult decision to cancel the May festival.
As the nations’ oldest Fringe, festivals around the watch Orlando’s lead and begin canceling their festivals.
Orlando Fringe social media saw an incredible 80,897 organic impressions that day with many people sharing love and support.
thelawn.orlandofringe.org opens online as a depository of live and pre-recorded shows, online events, and art for sale.
It is opened to help artists spread the word about the work they are producing during the pandemic.
Development Director Lisa Hardt and Theatre Producer Lindsay Taylor stay up for 24 hours again for another live online fundraising telethon.
The online event took place May 12-24.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was among the honored guests at the online ribbon-cutting event. Mayor Dyer proclaimed that Fringe Today would count as the 29th festival.
Performances were streamed from artists from around the world.
The online event took place on Facebook Live and on Zoom.
The entire event was free, but tipping was recommended.
Kids Fringe summer camps had to transition to a virtual online format this year.
As an added bonus, Fringezilla made personal, socially-distanced, appearances at the student’s home for a quick visit and storytime.
Fringe begins producing online events on the first Friday of the month.
Streams are viewable on social media and on the Fringe website.
Returning to live theatre for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Orlando Fringe produces an immersive twist on the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.
Patrons are lead around to stations in Loch Haven Park where five different arts groups or performers presented a scene from the story.
Each group of no more than 25 patrons was lead by a narrator and a performer playing the role of Scrooge.
The event was so popular, additional performances were added.
The festival took place in person January 7-10, and online, January 7-14.
With performances unable to perform indoors due to social distancing requirements, Winter Mini-Fest had a different look this year.
Performances were broadcast online. Patrons could purchase shows individually or with an all-access pass.
In-person, Fringe held a “Socially Distanced Hangout” in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center courtyard, complete with a bar and a performance by Corsets & Cuties on select nights. On the “mini lawn,” a number of the streamed performances were projected onto the side of the building. Chairs and blankets were set up for patrons to watch the shows during this very cold weekend.
May of 2021. We are here. The future of Fringe looks bright. How will you help us shape the future?