About Minnesota Fringe

There is one big thing that makes Fringe different from any other event in town: All the shows you'll see at Fringe were selected randomly by lottery.

Yep. That's right. Each year the lineup is crafted by placing numbered ping-pong balls into a bingo cage and drawing them out, one by one. From stage veterans to people who are brand new to theater, Minnesota Fringe is a forum for anyone with a story to tell. We also provide the necessary support to make producing a show as easy as possible, regardless of where you land on the artistic spectrum.

Anyone (yes, anyone) can apply to have a show in the festival. If you'd like to have a show in our next festival, applications will go live in November here on our website. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a reminder as well as information about other theater events happening around town.

The mission of the Minnesota Fringe is to promote creative freedom and diversity of artistic expression by linking adventurous artists with adventurous audiences. Thank you for joining in this adventure!

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Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows in just 11 days, we have to run a tight schedule to avoid descending into chaos. Performances are no more than 60 minutes long with a half hour between each show.

On weekdays shows begin at 5:30pm, 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm. On weekends there are additional shows at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Late seating: There is NO LATE SEATING at Minnesota Fringe. In addition to keeping our schedule, late seating is a safety issue for artists and audiences.

Safety for artists: Some of our theaters require that patrons walk across parts of the stage to reach the seating area, and many of our production companies’ stage work encompasses entrances and exits from the house.

Safety for audiences: Entering a darkened theater, possibly for the first time, and trying to find open seats puts patrons and volunteers at unnecessary risk.

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Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, serves as the late-night watering hole for artists, staff, volunteers and audience members alike. Come in after a day full of shows to grab a beer and some bar food. Talk about what you loved and what you didn’t. Meet the artists behind the scenes and actors on the stage. Find out what you should see tomorrow or dream up your own idea for next year. You never know what will happen during Fringe, but dropping by Fringe Central gives you a serious head start.

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What to Wear

Shorts and a t-shirt. Seriously. Also, a pair of comfy shoes will serve you well in case you have to wait in line. Most Fringe shows take place indoors in air-conditioned venues, so having a layer to throw on in case you get chilly is also advisable.

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Choosing a Show

With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows, it's scandalous to see just one. But how to choose the perfect lineup?

Search by genre: You can filter for genres when trying to decide what to see.

Talk to people: It only sounds scary. Just look for the folks in lanyards. Lanyards are worn by Fringe artists and there are at least a thousand of them dying to tell you about their show.

Read and write reviews: See what audiences are raving about on our audience review page, then return the favor and let others know what you thought.

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Get Involved

Fringe isn't just a festival - it's a community, and it couldn't exist without people like you.

Create: Applications for the 2018 festival will are live on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Volunteer: Our volunteers are near and dear to our hearts and make our festival go, so we shower them with lots of love and complimentary seats! Sign up for a shift now!

Socialize: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, for a beer, a burger and maybe even some late-night shenanigans.

Support: Help us create Minnesota's Summer Theater Crawl by donating to or sponsoring our annual festival. Gifts of any size make a large contribution to our ability to meet our mission.

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Box Office Info

Pass, Reservations, and Tickets, Oh My!

In 2018, Fringe will still offer passes but is also re-introducing single tickets options to see shows. We are re-tooling our Box Office policies to reflect our changes. Please check back for more information in the spring.

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By Society for the Preservation of Gravity
Written by Kara Garbe Balcerzak

Playing at Ritz Theater Mainstage


Warnings: Violence, Adult language.

Gene's family trip to the Boundary Waters is interrupted by a co-worker, Colleen, who demands help exposing government secrets. How far will Colleen go to make Gene's family do what she thinks is right?

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12-15 and up


Thu, 8/3 @ 5:30pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 2:30pm


Mon, 8/7 @ 8:30pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 8:30pm


Sun, 8/13 @ 1:00pm

* Reservations not required, but a Day Pass is. Find out more below.

Ticket Options

Day Passes are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends. Day Passes serve as entry to any show in the festival on a given day. Optional reservations to guarantee a seat for a particular performance are available by clicking the "reserve" button above. Day Passes can be purchased in advance with a reservation or at any venue box office during the festival.

Weekdays 1pm-3pm and Weekends 11am-1pm we'll also open an Alternative Box Office at Fringe Central so you can grab a Day Pass and skip the lines at the venue before the show.

Day Passes for kids 12 and under are available at any box office during the festival just $5 every day.

A 2017 Fringe button isn't required for entry, but it does get you access! Wearing it not only identifies you as a part of a fabulous Fringe community, it also entitles you to special deals at local bars and restaurants and access to reduced ticket prices at various theaters throughout the year. Get your 2017 Fringe button for only $4 at any Fringe preview event or Fringe venue during the festival.

Read the reviews

Excellent acting!

by Jeffrey Kessel on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Thought provoking, nuanced production that develops characters fast & very well. All actors excellent. Very dramatic twists at the end.

Show Us, Don't Tell Us

by Jesse Swanson on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

There are some good discussions to be had about the premise but it dragged as a stage adaptation. It was an awkward mix between broad comedy and drama. Very little action in the staging. The actors mostly sat around a campsite.

So what would you do?

by Connie Petersen on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Will at least make you think/start a conversation. Had a bit of trouble with some of the acting but overall the cast brings a good performance. I liked the writing and the show as a whole. Worth that precious time slot.

Bad Script.

by Meghan Maddigan on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

I went in to this show not knowing what to expect, and came out with a message ringing in my ear. The script is more of a PSA than anything else, and as other reviewers have said, was WAY too repetitive. The dialogue sounded like the news, instead of a conversation. The cast did their best with what they had. Cornwell and Regan gave standout performances. Ultimately, the play lacked the urgency of the situation and topics it discussed.

Thought Provoking

by Parmak Preet on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Really liked the concept,
Script and acting. Left us thinking how far a common man can go in difficult situations. I did find it a bit repetitive, but that's the script. Nothing I could fault the actors for. A great fringe show to watch.

1 person found this review helpful

Well worth seeing!

by Sharon Regan on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

We often hear of brave, extraordinary acts, but what would YOU do if you were faced with a situation where doing the right (?) thing could ruin your life? Great acting. Thanks!

1 person found this review helpful

Makes you think

by Mel H on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This is a great play that wrestles with big issues. Great writing, great directing, great acting. While the play is mostly serious, there are many funny moments that help alleviate the tension. If you're looking for a play that will provide fodder for conversation long after it's over, this is the one.

5star idea, 3star execution

by Corrie Fiedler on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

I'm having a hard time rating Patriot/Traitor. Was I engaged? Yes. Was the script complex and creative? Yes.

However, didactic exposition sometimes served as acting. It seemed unlikely that real people would talk about complex ideas in such a way. Similarly, I wish the two sides would have been more deeply drawn (other reviewers noted that it seemed repetitive: the same ideas over and over).

1 person found this review helpful

Thought provoking

by Rajiv Aggarwal on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This is a thought provoking play that makes you think. What is humanity and what are the right values to stand for. Good acting and a nice screenplay. Congratulations for a good job.

It always comes down to the Zombies

by Eric Meininger on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 31 shows

Well acted articulate discussion / argument about the challenges of government secrecy and transparency. One that we are not often willing to hear. Come and join this trip off-grid and walk away with a better understanding of the challenges than you will get from the (fake) press. Recommended.

It's amazing how zombies can frame every argument so well.

Something More Traditional

by Vincent Hannam on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

Definitely the most "traditional" play I've seen so far at Fringe and definitely one of the best written. The script features tight dialogue between the characters and well-placed comedic relief. While the subject matter itself can get a little redundant, I'd say it's still worth checking out.

1 person found this review helpful

Thought-provoking, surprising

by Lucia Smith on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

In just an hour, I was introduced, through humor and dramatic tension, to the overlapping relationships of a pair of sisters, two married couples, and two tech-savvy co-workers. Engaging! I heard the passionate, sometimes didactic, arguments of characters who reflected the intensity of people I’ve heard in real life expressing the dilemmas and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Finally, I felt surprised by a climax that left me wondering exactly how far a sensible person, like me, might go to preserve life and honor.

1 person found this review helpful

Boring, bad acting

by Ellie Browne on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

Some funny moments, but the acting overall was confusing. Also...what is this script?

A Message Show

by Nanette Stearns on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 25 shows

I found the show to be overly repetitive and didactic. The message was good and the story engaging ... for about half an hour. Then it became the same story with the same arguments over and over. Motivations are revealed, characters choose sides, and then switch. Theater as political statement is a great medium but this just went on too long.

1 person found this review helpful

The Relationships Are In There

by Michael Sheeks on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Fringe this year is filled with some great windows into the experiences of immigrants and marginalized people. This one, on the other hand, leaps without remorse into the struggles of those of us steeped in privilege have with knowing that the world has gone sideways and are struggling with what to do with it.

While I could complain about the didactic exposition that sometimes bogs down the narrative, the relationships inside the story are strong and there are some very nice performances. When it stops being intellectual and allows the personal side of the journey through its a very nice show. The renderings of Mary and Hannah were very satisfying. Five stars because this is the kind of work we need to be doing.

2 people found this review helpful

Repetitive & Sleepy

by Marie Cooney on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

Repetitive storyline made me sleepy. Had I know, I might have taken this time slot to see a different show.


by Rebecca Brorson on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Great acting, wonderful writing. I highly recommend.

Thought provoking - A MUST SEE!

by Jaime Renner on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The story and cast take you on a journey that challenges you to consider what you would do in a similar circumstance. Are you Rick or Negan?! Relatable dialogue, there is wit, drama, tension. The show facilitates an ongoing conversation; you will leave talking about it! Definitely a must see!

1 person found this review helpful

Wish I had napped

by Corwin Amyx on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

I felt the script was contrived and most of the acting poor.

Thorough and provocative

by Shauna Edson on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Intensely relevant and unapologetic, this show presents the multifaceted debate over what constitutes patriotism. It colors the stark viewpoints with humanity, giving us characters and backstory that provide a great canvas for in-depth thoughts.

The actors were obviously as invested in the subject matter as in their characters, which added power to the message. At times the script felt more like platform speeches than natural dialogue, with a lot of information packed into each paragraph. But certain relationships between characters were organic and relatable, especially the two sisters, whose comfort and ease together were perfect.

This is an important show for anyone to see, right now as much as ever. Go in ready to engage your mind.

good show

by Richard Terrill on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

The theme is topical, but the production doesn't preach. It's worth your hour on the basis of what you will learn alone, but there is more here than a lesson. We watch living, breathing characters work out their dilemmas, leading to a dramatic climax and crisp ending.

1 person found this review helpful

A Presentation Disguised as a Drama

by Adam Boutz on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

An exploration of the morality of leaking classified information. The script lacked subtlety and the message felt slanted, but it did vigorously present multiple sides of the argument. Both factions were portrayed as rational points of view held by compassionate people who do not view their own action/inaction as amoral.

This is a very topical and timely play; it contains questions everyone *should* be asking themselves. But it also felt like a lecture. It felt like the characters weren't trying very hard to convince each other, rather it felt like they were trying to convince the audience. It felt contrived.

2 people found this review helpful

Very important subject matter

by Ben Mendis on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 10 shows

I felt as though this tailor written for me. Camping and information security, with some very familiar arguing about legal, political, and ethical issues. Even having heard (or made) these arguments before, the characters and their backstories adds a level of depth that gives a new perspective on the same old questions.

Outside of a few narrow communities, I worry that most people don't engage in these debates. It's easy to let the evening news label someone as a patriot or a traitor, but often the reality is much more complicated. They might be neither, or both.

I hope you go check out this performance, and think about each character and their context. If you were in their shoes, what would you do?

1 person found this review helpful

Thought provocing and fun

by Chris Regan on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show put dialog to my inner conflicts, and made a voice and context to help me further explore my thoughts. The sister dynamic brought needed levity to tense moments. Thanks for the great show.

2 people found this review helpful

Ouch. Wow! Thanks

by Richard Fuller on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Sketch comedy? Sorta.
Sketch existential dilemma? OMG!
Profound life dilemmas pass from one character to the next like a huge yoga ball.
The dismaying FACTS of our government's hidden actions are the background.
Then there are the issues: Our government? Approved by us? We are responsible? At what cost? Our essence?
Patriot/Traitor plunged me into my issues with a clarity I had not seen before.
Three characters go through wrenching changes. Another: “You're taking this way too seriously.” An exquisite mix! Theater that takes you to places you dimly recognize but have not been. Patriot/Traitor is a great success.

3 people found this review helpful

Color me a Traitorous Patriot

by Joe Allen on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Grappling with a difficult topic that is heavy, immediate, and real, Patriot/Traitor is a marvelous indictment of complicit citizenship.

The dialogue is natural and witty, dealing with the nuance of ethical/moral conundrums and pop-culture references in the same breath.

So many good themes in duality: (Relationship vs Self, City vs Country, Ethical vs Legal, Safety vs Risk, Logical vs Emotional).

The actors do a wonderful job with the text, and are provided some wonderful moments by the script which are brought to life without a skipped beat. Special shout-out to the sisters, not only for the fun of their dialogue and intelligent characterization, but for being so absolutely present through the run of the show.

Ask the hard questions.

3 people found this review helpful

Awesome show!!

by Kimberly Herrema on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Thought-provoking, full of tension, lovely acting and writing. An all-around great way to spend your time. Definitely one of my top picks.

2 people found this review helpful

Clearly offers 2 sides of a debate

by Emma Dozier on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This play made me go back and forth on the ongoing political/war debate in my own head. I found myself nodding along with both sides! Bonus - I had lots of feels about my own marriage. Great work SPOG!

4 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Eric Balcerzak


Eric Balcerzak was recently in Mission Theater Company’s “Romeo & Juliet” and “Everything’s Free” as well as Upright Egg's devised piece, "The Goodbye Project". This is Eric’s second Minnesota Fringe Festival, which he is co-producing with his lovely wife Kara. Last year he directed, “If Only..” an original script by Kara. Eric is excited to be presenting the show at The Ritz and returning to his old neighborhood where he has some stories about the old 331 Club. When Eric isn’t acting he can sometimes be found making art out of things that other people have discarded, trying to put some of his scattered thoughts down on paper, or just taking a moment to enjoy the great outdoors.

Kara Garbe Balcerzak


Kara Garbe Balcerzak studied creative writing at the University of Virginia and Minnesota State University Mankato. She is the recipient of grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Blacklock Nature Sanctuary. She also wrote the 2016 Fringe Festival play, "If Only: Parallel Worlds Collide at HarMar Mall." Kara writes fiction and memoir, and is the author of a dozen nonfiction children's books.

Lily Cornwell


Lily Cornwell is a graduate of University of Wisconsin- La Crosse's music theatre program. She has been seen recently onstage at the Phoenix Theatre for A Drinking Game Minnesota, or as Heather Chandler with Twin Cities Community Theatre. She's currently working on a reading of the new musical: Yours, Thrognog. Fringe Festival Debut!

Julie Ann Greif


Julie Ann is excited to be making her debut with the Fringe and SPOG, an amazing theater company! Most recently you have seen Julie Ann in The One Minute Play Festival (History Theatre), The Bernice Project (Phoenix Theater), The Taming (Theatre Unbound) and The Events (Guthrie). Julie Ann performs in theatre, opera, musical theater, dance, concert, recital and cabaret.  In addition, she is a commercial actor, print model, voice-over talent and award winning competitive ballroom dancer. She maintains a private voice and bodywork studio in Minneapolis. She was the recipient of a Schubert Club Special Artist Grant and holds a MM in Voice from the University of Minnesota. She is a company member of Persistent Theater Productions (PTP). You can see Julie Ann in PTP’s Spring 2018 production, The Basset Table, as “Lady Reveler”.

Nick Manthe


Nick Manthe is a recent graduate from the University of South Dakota. He has recently moved to the cities and is excited to be a part of the Fringe Festival. Nick would like to thank his girlfriend Laurie and his family for their support.

Kelly Regan


Kelly is a native of the Seattle area and has been living in Minnesota with her husband and two daughters for 3 years now. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from Eastern Washington University and has performed in film and on stage for going on 12 years. Notable roles include Adriana in A Comedy of Errors, The Witch in Into the Woods, and most recently, Mary Poppins with Saint Anthony Community Theater's 2016 production of the show. She has greatly enjoyed the Fringe experience, and looks forward to continuing her exploration of the vast performing arts community in the Twin Cities areas.

Anneliese Stuht


Anneliese has been directing and performing in the Twin Cities for over fifteen years. During this time she has had the pleasure of working with such local companies as Theatre Unbound, Penumbra Theatre Company, Wayward Theatre Company, Conundrum Collective, and Mission Theatre Company. Anneliese has a passion for developing original works; recently she workshopped and directed three world-premiere plays with local playwright Sam Graber: Modern Prophet, Detainee, and Everything’s Free! As a performer for over twenty years, she has participated in every genre including classical Shakepeare, dance, puppetry and storytelling. Currently, she is working with the Conundrum Collective of Minneapolis as voice talent for a series of radio plays adapted for the stage.

More information

What if someone like Edward Snowden had fled to the Boundary Waters?

Gene and Mary's marital squabbles take a backseat when Colleen and Riley arrive at their campsite with a thumb drive of top-secret government documents. Along with Mary's sister, Hannah, the group is plunged into an escalating debate about the role of government in keeping its citizens safe and the role of citizens in holding their government accountable. Meanwhile, night is falling, and the FBI is certainly on their way to apprehend Colleen and Riley; if they're going to make the documents public, time is running out. How far will each character go to convince the others of what they think is right?

Check out audience reviews from SPOG Theater's 2016 Fringe Festival show, "If Only: Parallel Worlds Collide at HarMar Mall":

"What an ingenious concept, masterfully developed through authentic writing and excellent acting. Very genuine, gripping, and relatable." -Peter Villerius

"This is a remarkable production, well-written, -acted and -directed. I woke up this morning with the play in my head, connected in important (to me...) ways to my own life and lives important to me, and I expect it'll stay with me for a long time. What more can I ask of a play?" -Jonathan Lundell

"A master class in character development and careful, gradual revelation of character moments." -David Rust

"Thoroughly enjoyable! Clever plot, wonderful acting and held my attention to the very end. Way to go!" - Suzanne Van Dyck


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