Fringe logoGeorge Wallace, general manager of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, recently sat down with me to share his thoughts on why this renowned performing arts festival should top your May date night list.

Why do you think local couples should check out Fringe for date night?
First of all, there is such a diverse variety of performances over the 13 days, that there is always something for everyone. I’m talking everything from one-man comedy shows to music performances and dance, including a handful of mature shows (such as performances by Orlando’s burlesque dancers) that will definitely add a risqué element to the evening. In total, this year’s Fringe will showcase 82 different performance groups from all over the world. Plus, I think our location at Loch Haven Park is a romantic setting.

How do you ‘do’ Fringe?
You can pre-purchase and print your performance tickets online ahead of time for all the shows. A lot of performances sell out, so it’s always best to get your tickets ahead of time. Performances range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes and they are all held inside the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and the Orlando Repertory Theatre.

When you get to the festival, you’ll purchase an $8 Fringe pass, which is good for the entire 13 days of the festival. You only buy this once.

There are free outdoor performances you can attend as well as visiting the infamous Beer Tent located on the beautiful lawn space between the two theatres. Visual Fringe is also a great element, in which local artists display and sell works of art, so while you are waiting in line, you have something to look at and discuss.

How can a couple make this a fun date night?
Shows are scheduled from 5pm – midnight Monday – Friday, and from 10am – midnight Saturdays and Sundays, so you can definitely make this a fun day OR evening experience. Mills 50 and Ivanhoe Village, both excellent local restaurant hubs, are minutes away. In fact, you can walk over and have dinner before or after your shows.

What kind of dollars are we talking about here?
Actually, Fringe is a really inexpensive experience—the most expensive ticket is $11. Take Toxic Audio for example; they’re performances are usually $40 at Bob Carr, but you can see them at Fringe for just $11.

Why should we support this festival?
Last year, we paid out just under $200,000 to the performing artists who participated in the festival. I think it not only helps our economy, but it shows that the Orlando community supports the arts too.


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