Mad Cow Theatre (Facebook | Website) has been put on notice that it could be put to the curb if it doesn’t pay the City of Orlando an outstanding bill in the amount of $121,742.40.

Matt Palm broke the news on Orlando Sentinel earlier this morning, sharing that the City had informed Mad Cow on October 20th that they were in breach of an agreement to use the space and that failure to pay them the amount owed by the end of the month would result in them terminating the lease.

The City of Orlando leases the space from ShopCore, the owners of 55 West and Church Street Market, and sublease it to Mad Cow for $1 a year. Mad Cow, which received a Shuttered Venue Operator Grant earlier in the year, is responsible for paying for security services and a common area maintenance fee of $2,029.04 a month to Shop Core but they haven’t paid that fee in five years. Leaving the City to foot the bill.

We reached out to the City of Orlando for a statement on whether Mad Cow was able to pay the bill on time and their next steps and expect a statement in the next few days, but a replacement tenant already seems to be in the works.

Alauna Friskics, ED of Orlando Fringe, confirmed with Bungalower that she has been in discussions with the City of Orlando about potentially taking over the space if Mad Cow fails to settle their substantial debt on time.

“The City of Orlando approached Fringe because of our reputation for presenting a broad range of art through diverse voices. We are honored to be in discussions to extend our mission to a year-round facility and fill a need in the artistic community.”


Orlando Fringe also shared that they have no intention of leaving their home at Loch Haven Park where they host their annual summer festival, but that any potential downtown theater location would be used as an extension of their current programming and likely serve as a shared “arts incubator program” with other organizations and groups to foster a more diverse group of organizations and productions in the area and that a pilot program is currently in the works, with Orlando Fringe serving as the facilitator.

While it may appear sudden for the City of Orlando to come a-calling for their $121,742.40 after five years, the news comes on the heels of Mad Cow Theatre’s latest public dust-up concerning ongoing issues with staff and performers not being paid for their work and a lack of diversity in programming and leadership.

In regards to the news, Mad Cow’s director, Mitzi maxwell shared the following quote.

“We are talking with the city, as we have for the past decade, and look forward to a resolution soon.”


Mad Cow Theatre is located at 54 W. Church Street [GMap].

Note: I’ve been advocating for Fringe to take over this space since back in 2016 and I stand by it.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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