Orlando Fringe's new theater hub

ORLANDO — The longest-running regional Fringe Festival is expanding, adding a new Theatre Hub for 2020 while starting a new collaboration with another of Orlando’s major artistic groups, Orlando Ballet.

Lindsay Taylor, the producer of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, just announced that their newest venue will be Harriet’s Orlando Ballet Centre on Princeton Street, just past the parking garage for the Orlando Science Center, and a 6-minute walk from the lawn entrance to where the festival is traditionally held at Loch Haven Park. It will be known as the Teal Venue.

What Are The Changes in Fringe Venues for 2020?

As Taylor noted in an email to Fringe artists, “We are adding a brand new Teal Venue as a replacement for the newly retired Black Venue, so an additional Festival managed venue, meaning the amount of shows we accept in the lottery will increase.”

Fringe is also moving its Red and Purple Venues from the Lowndes Shakespeare Center to the new hub. The Purple Venue is moving to offer expansion and growth opportunities for Visual Fringe in the old Purple Venue location in the center lobby of Lowndes.

Red Venue is moving to the Ballet to improve the venue layout, accessibilities, and amenities, Taylor noted, while adding that all three of the new venues will be Tier 3 Venues.

As a new hub, the Ballet’s lobby and back balcony, which overlooks Lake Formosa, will be accessible to patrons and Fringe artists throughout the festival as a place to relax during shows. Beverages that include alcohol and snacks will be on sale in the lobby, and a Fringe Box office will be set up there for ticket sales.

There will also be a room inside Teal for artists to prep before the show with mirrors.

“We are really excited for this new partnership, and we are looking forward to creating an enhanced experience for our artists and audience,” Taylor noted.

Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre is scheduled to open this month.

What Does Orlando Ballet Think of this Partnership?

“It’s exhilarating for us to partner with yet another amazing arts organization in Orlando,” said Orlando Fringe Executive Director Alauna Friskics. “Growing the footprint allows audiences to experience the Fringe Festival in new ways. You will now be able to enjoy a beverage and chat about the show you just saw, all while taking in breathtaking views of Lake Formosa. It’s a state of the art facility, and we are so thankful to Orlando Ballet for welcoming us, a Loch Haven Park neighbor, with open arms.”

Orlando Ballet’s executive director, Shane Jewell,  said they were “honored to partner with the internationally acclaimed Orlando Fringe Festival. Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre was designed not just for Orlando Ballet but for the community as a whole. To be a hub of Fringe will allow so many others to experience this beautiful facility.”

What is the Orlando Fringe Festival?

The 2020 Orlando Fringe Festival will be centered around the Lowndes Shakespeare Theater at 812 E. Rollins St. 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.

The Orlando Fringe Festival is the oldest Fringe in the nation, and in 2020 will celebrate its 29th year. It 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. It’s the longest-running Fringe Festival in the United States, a 14-day festival held in the spring.


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.

Stay tuned to learn more about the upcoming Orlando Fringe Festival.

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.

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