The Orlando Fringe kicks off this week with the announcement of a new partnership

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The oldest theater festival of its kind in the United States returns this week to central Florida.

The Orlando Fringe festival kicks off its 31st year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at 7 p.m. on its outdoor stage at Loch Haven Park.

The 14-day arts festival runs until May 30, followed by an online component from June 3-17. The festival will feature over 800 eclectic theatrical performances for all audiences across multiple venues.

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Tickets range from free to $15. Performers keep 100% of the base ticket price, according to Fringe. Click here to buy.

The Fringe will also include the Visual Fringe, a visual arts portion, a free festival for kids and families on Saturdays and Sundays during the Fringe, and the return of the free outdoor stage.

Alongside the festival, kicking off the World Fringe Congress, a gathering of Fringe producers, managers and directors from around the world, will take place May 19-23 at the Orlando Science Center.

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This year’s Fringe festival also begins with some expansion.

Fringe has entered into a new partnership with the City of Orlando to create an arts acceleration program, as well as entering into a multi-year lease for Fringe to operate the theater performance space at 54 W. Church St. and develop the formula of what Fringe is, according to a press release.

“One of the main priorities of the city’s shared vision for downtown Orlando is to have a strong presence of cultural and artistic amenities in the urban core for all to enjoy,” said the mayor. of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, in the press release. “Fringe has a long history of supporting artists in Orlando, and we look forward to how they will activate the space and continue our efforts to grow our burgeoning arts scene.”

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The space will host an accelerator program that encourages and mentors local emerging arts organizations, as well as full theater performances, recruited shows, educational programs and more.

The Orlando Community Redevelopment Agency has approved a $307,000 grant to help activate the new West Church Street space and launch the acceleration program.

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“Our commitment is to ensure that we create and foster an inclusive, equitable and collaborative environment,” said Alauna Friskics, executive director, in the press release. “One who promotes participation and openly recruits diverse stories and performances. Ultimately, our greatest ambition is that artists and patrons from all walks of life see themselves represented in the work presented at Fringe at 54 West Church and that we can serve as a role model and inspiration to other artists and arts organizations. in our own community and around the world.”

The new space is expected to open in early 2023.

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