Wed 19 May, 2004 03:58 pm
Orlando is not the big time, but there's a pretty vibrant local theater community, including a solid Shakespeare company, a couple of pretty good contemporary companies, and a lot of community theaters. But the highlight of the year for me is the annual Fringe Festival, now in its thirteenth year. I have volunteered at the Fringe for many years, been fortunate enough to be a judge for an independent organization one year, hosted performers, and even helped put on a show a few years back, but this year I'm just going to enjoy attending. Seventy companies from around North America will be performing on nine stages from May 20 through May 30. The festival is unjuried, and features a lot of original work. I hope to see between 20 and 30 shows before I give out. Many old favorites are not returning this year, but a lot are, with a smattering of new talent that looks very promising.
Fringes are big in Canada, but there aren't too many in the U. S., less now that the one in Seattle folded. New York has a big festival, but I am told it is not a true "fringe". If you get a chance, check out a Fringe Festival in your area, or...come to this one!