812 East Rollins Street
Orlando, FL 32803
Fringe All Year Long!
Check the Orlando International Fringe Theatre festival website for upcoming shows, prices and details.
What is the Orlando Fringe?
Since its inception in 1992, the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival held in May, has grown to be the largest and oldest Fringe Festival in the United States. For lovers of live performances this 14-day creativity extravaganza showcases local talent as well as Nationally and Internationally known performers. The term ‘Fringe’ comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which has been held annually in Scotland since 1948. There are no rules for Fringe performers therefore you may encounter experimental styles of expression in addition to the traditional theater, music and dance.
The principal ideas for the Fringe:
- 100% Unjuried – participants are selected through a lottery type of system which is not based on merit.
- 100% Accessible – all shows are open to anyone in the community.
- 100% Uncensored – unfiltered creativity.
- 100% of the ticket and art sales go directly to the artists.
How to Fringe:
The most difficult task you will have as a festival-goer is which shows to select and coordinating the dates and times. Along with reading the descriptions of the shows, I recommend attending the National & International Teaser Show – where performers are given two minutes to wow you in hopes of enticing you to see their show. More than half of the performers are local and unfortunately do not participate in the teaser, pre-show event. When selecting and purchasing tickets to the performances, it is possible to ‘wing-it’ but once the buzz gets going on social media, popular shows start to sell out. To make the most of Fringing, here are a few pointers.
Obtain a Fringe Button
This button (cost $10) is required for all ticketed shows for anyone over the age of 12. One button is good for the entire 14 day festival, unless of course, you lose it or leave it at home, in which case you will need to purchase another one before entering a show.
Purchase Tickets for Shows
Either on-line or at the festival. All shows are under $11 (plus $1.25 ticket surcharge). You can print out the tickets or use the free TicketLeap App. You’ll want to see a couple of shows a night since no performances last for more than 90 minutes.
What’s New at the Orlando Fringe in 2018:
So many shows and so little time! There are a few new online tools to help you navigate this year’s Fringe Festival. First off, the newly, locally created Fringe-O-Matic allows you to enter in the shows that you are interested in and a personalized Fringe schedule will be created for you. If you are interested in a do-it-yourself version, head to the daily schedule and select the option to download an Excel worksheet of the entire schedule. Then have fun rearranging to make your own Fring-tastic 10 day schedule.
Download the Orlando Fringe Festival App
This handy, free IPhone App provides an easy-to-use schedule of shows along with descriptions, venues and search capability.
This isn’t Broadway, it is Orlando. You’ll be going from the muggy (possibly rainy) outdoors into air-conditioned space – dress accordingly. Comfortable shoes are a must considering the limited parking, different venues and grassy areas in-between, you most likely will be doing a good bit of walking.
Don’t be Late
Give yourself lots of time to park, purchase tickets and find the correct venue. If you are even a minute late, you will not be let in. As laid-back as the fringe may seem to be, this is one rule that they are very serious about. Also if for any reason you need to leave the show, you will not be allowed back in.
Take the Show Ratings Seriously
Remember, the Finge is Uncensored meaning if you are bringing grandma or the kids, there is no telling what they might hear or see.
Buy the Book
For just $1 you can purchase a comprehensive catalog that provides a handy print version of all that is The Orlando Fringe. A complete schedule of all the shows, a breakdown of shows by rating and descriptions of shows is an easy way to navigate the endless possibilities that the fringe presents. The catalog is available wherever the Fringe Buttons are sold.
On the Cheap
There are free shows on the outdoor stage located within the Fringe Lawn. You may not bring your own food and drink into this area, but you can come in and watch the diverse entertainment that is performed. Preview the Visual Fringe, where artists display their unique celebrations of creativity at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. At the Rep, there will be a collection of children’s art. All activities and performances at the Kids Fringe are free of charge.
On Saturday and Sundays during the Fringe visit the sculpture gardens of The Mennello Museum of American Art for family friendly performances, workshops and hands-on-art activities. These free activities run from 10 am until 2:00 pm both weekends of the festival.
Food and Drink:
There are loads of restaurants within a short drive or walk of the festival, including family friendly Panara and Wendys (both located by Florida Hospital on Orange Avenue.) Withing Loch Have Park you can also visit the Fringe Lawn, a large area sectioned off for food and drink vendors.
For late night dining, check out
The Hammered Lamb, serving food every night until 2 am and you’ll receive a 10% discount with your Fringe Button.