ORLANDO — As Orlando Fringe gears up for Monday’s all-important Lottery Drawing, the organization that puts on the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival each year is bringing on new team members, a reflection of their solid growth as an arts organization.
For those artists who submitted an application to Fringe in the fall, the Lottery Drawing will be on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 Rollins St. (Beer and wine will be sold, so come prepared to have fun.)
The festival itself will be held May 12-25 next year. The artists chosen in Monday’s Lottery Drawing will have an opportunity to bring their shows to the often massive audience that this two-and-a-half week long festival attracts.
In the meantime, the Orlando Fringe organization is getting bigger as well, and just hired multiple team members to facilitate that growth.
Who Just Got Hired at Orlando Fringe?
Orlando Fringe Executive Director Alauna Friskics noted that as this nearly 30-year-old organization continues to grow, a larger team has become needed to mount the annual event. While some of the newly-hired members are filling vacant positions, Fringe has also created some new roles too.
“It’s so exciting to bring these immensely talented people into the Fringe family,” Friskics said.
That includes Melissa Fritzinger, who has worked as a production stage manager for some of the region’s best known theater production companies and entertainment venues. That includes Beth Marshall Presents, Orlando Shakes, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Garden Theatre, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld. She’s joining the Fringe team as their new Operations manager.
“I’m thrilled to work with the amazing Fringe Team and privileged to be the Operations Manager for the 29th Year of Fringe” she said.
Jessica Hoehn is taking over the position of Kids Fringe Producer. Genevieve Bernard, who currently holds that position, is starting a new one as Education Coordinator to oversee Fringe’s expanding educational initiatives. Helping out will be Jessica Hoehn, who has been a performer at the region’s theme parks, and has designed and developed local art summer camps.
“I feel strongly that the arts are critically important to our youth,” Hoehn noted. “I’m excited to expand minds young and old through the Orlando Fringe Festival.”
Emily Padden, currently a house/venue manager from Massachusetts, is relocating to Orlando to be with Orlando Fringe as its new Lawn Support. The lawn at Loch Haven Park hosts a beer tent that food court, as well as outdoor stages for free performances.
What’s Happening With the Associate Producer Role?
Orlando Fringe’s Associate Producer role just got split in two, with the work being divided between Tempestt Halstead and Ashley Hallenbeck. Brian Sikorski, spokesman for Orlando Fringe, noted that “Tempestt Halstead revels in the world of entertainment being vast and limitless. She has appreciated its gifts from both on the stage and off- finding a home performing in the aerial arts and circus community while also having steadfast love for stage managing, writing, and producing. Tempestt has been on the Orlando Fringe team in various roles for the past two years; as an intern, a bartender, and with ticketing services.”
Hallenbeck, he noted, “is an energetic designer who loves pop culture, theme parks, gardening, and the beach. She currently runs Milk Mart, a local artist and vendor party in The Milk District, and teaches youth digital art classes for Boys and Girls Club, juggling freelance design work on the side. One day, she hopes to run a series of locally-filled sticker vending machines.”
Gina Barone was hired as the new Outdoor Stage Producer, responsible for booking the performers on the festival’s free outdoor stage — which, as Sikorski noted, is expanding from 12 to 13 days next year. Barone, who previously served as an intern for Fringe, said “I’m looking forward to exercising my passion for the arts and Fringe through the Outdoor Stage.”
Melanie Leon, a local performer who works in arts management, will be the new Visual Fringe Producer; and new to the Visual Fringe team are Krystal Rajkowski and Olivia Adkins, who will be sharing the duties of Visual Fringe Associate Producer.
What is Orlando Fringe All About?
The Orlando Fringe produces The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, the longest-running Fringe in the U.S., and a member of:
- The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals
- United States Association of Fringe Festivals
- and the World Fringe Association.
The 2020 Orlando Fringe Festival will be centered around the Lowndes Shakespeare Theater in Loch Haven Park, when more than 90 plays will be performed for audiences in the two-and a half weeks leading up to Memorial Day Weekend.
Orlando Fringe Festival, which in 2020 will celebrate its 29th year, was created in 1991 by Terry Olson (who is now the director of the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst, and held in 1992 in downtown Orlando.
The concept was simple: a festival featuring multiple theatrical shows, most in venues in empty storefronts. In 2004, the festival started to relocate to Loch Haven Park, and from 2005 on, the festival has been held entirely in that park and in nearby Ivanhoe Village.
Contact Freeline Media for Fringe Coverage
The online news site Freeline Media will be covering the festival next May, so Fringe artists are encouraged to get their press releases and contact information ready.
Freeline Media has been covering Orlando Fringe for more than a decade. Artists can submit their press releases and information about their shows to FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.