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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PHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life

By Give Us Free Records, LLC
Written by Mary Weems

Playing at Phoenix Theater


Solo show, Storytelling/Spoken word, Literary adaptation, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer, National/international company, Includes artists of color


Warnings: Violence, Adult language, Sexual Content.

A theatrical adaptation of her memoir, Dr. E's one woman show takes audiences through crises of an urban Black girl ensnared in teenaged sex trafficking, addiction, and abuse to self-discovery and love.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Tue, 8/8 @ 8:30pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 10:00pm


Fri, 8/11 @ 4:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 1:00pm


Sun, 8/13 @ 7:00pm

* 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


by Lisa Albrecht on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Docta E is stellar...great writer, singer, performer...buy her book, her music and bring her back! I have a crush!

1 person found this review helpful

Raw and Beautiful - Must See

by Mirah Ammal on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Dr. Elaine blends excellent storytelling and character work (with some brief a capella musical interludes showcasing a rich voice) with a powerful, powerful story. Her style is raw, blunt, yet remarkably well thought-out and crafted as a performance. The material may be difficult for those who have dealt with domestic or sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or addiction, but that is not necessarily a reason *not* to see it if you are able to prepare yourself, plan time for self-care afterward. The story is well worth the challenge, and the final message hopeful and positive. One more show--GO. SEE. IT. :)

1 person found this review helpful

A Plus Dr. Elaine

by Marie Cooney on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

When I saw this preview, I knew I had to see this brilliant woman and learn more about her story from traumatized teenage girl to greatly empowered woman to mentor and teach of many. Amazing vocals and singing. Exceptional story telling from street horrors to shared hope. See if at all possible!

1 person found this review helpful


by Leif Wallin on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Brutal, powerful, excellent presentation. hard to listen to, but then, listen we must.

1 person found this review helpful

Motivating and entertaining

by Corrie Fiedler on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

Skilled story-teller and vocal artist with a compelling story and a motivating life change. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful

My Fringe Must See Show

by Javier morillojavi@gmail.com on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Dr. E is a remarkable storyteller. Her story moves from tears to joy at a remarkable pace, one that will keep you focused and, at the end, you won't believe that was just an hour show. I felt like I'd had a good workout, or a good long cry - in a good way. Out of town artists often have a hard time filling venues. Do yourself a favor and GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW.

1 person found this review helpful


by Levi Weinhagen on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

In this performance, Dr E made me feel everything. It's an amazing sharing of a profound lived experience from someone who can sing and speak and breathe life into words to tremendous effect. I implore you to see this show.

1 person found this review helpful


by Emma Greenman on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Compelling, heartbreaking and uplifting story beautifully told, and sung. Dr. E leads you on a breakneck journey from laughter to tears and back. I left feeling grateful to be part of the audience that she choose to share her story with.

1 person found this review helpful


by Laura Zabel on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This show is moving, inspiring and honest. Dr. E is an amazing storyteller--she deftly weaves together heartbreaking vulnerability, gorgeous singing and intensity and then applies a magic fairy dust of goodnatured humor on top. Her charismatic performance draws you into her story and keeps you captivated for the entire hour. I am in awe of her, as a writer and performer and as a person. See this show!

1 person found this review helpful

Powerful, Emotional storytelling

by Tony Harrington on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

This is one of the best storytelling shows I've ever seen. Everything about the show - the story, the singing, the lighting was so well integrated. Dr. E is an engaging performer with an incredible story.

1 person found this review helpful

very moving and very well performed

by Clark Kinser on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

This was an emotional and powerful story, and very well presented.

1 person found this review helpful


by Ryan Bockenhauer on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This might be the most honest, vulnerable, and real show in the fringe festival this year. Very emotional performance. A wonderous story.
Thank you for being so cool.

1 person found this review helpful

Wonderful show!

by Cali Mastny on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 9 shows

Dr. E is an amazing storyteller, singer and all around performer. It was an intense and moving story dotted with beautiful a cappella songs and even bits of humor. She deftly transitioned between those moments. I was riveted the whole time. Highly recommended!

1 person found this review helpful

Potent and powerful

by Shauna Edson on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Rarely have I been so impacted by the sheer honesty and fearlessness of a show, and rarely have I seen a solo artist who can fill the entire space the way Dr. E does. Her talent as a performer just shines; she is truly radiant on the stage, her voice soars when she sings, and her variation as she speaks for the different characters in her story adds rich layers to the show.

Then there's the story itself, the authentic retelling of her life and choices and heartbreak and opportunities and rebuilding. Her narrative is riveting from beginning to end, and I found myself crying along with her during the hardest parts of the journey. She is a living testament to the impact of mentors, second chances, and willpower. This show is a must-see!

1 person found this review helpful


by Mark Lee on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 9 shows

I love to hear tales of success and triumph like this one.

2 people found this review helpful


by Barbara Lager on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Docta E performance is unbelievably poignant!!! I was drawn in from the first word that she spoke from time till her performance ended! So glad I didn't miss this one!

2 people found this review helpful

Pain, Passion, Hope, and Love

by Mary Weinhagen on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Dr. E's one woman show is so rich... and important... that I can easily recommend it to everyone. Her beautiful and powerful voice draws you in and doesn't let you go. She's masterful. You really must experience it yourself in order to understand. Wow!

2 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Dr. E Richardson

star performer

After starting her musical career in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, as a child in her Baptist church, Elaine Richardson (aka Dr. E) recognized her love for music and her distinct voice. As a teenager, she was able to escape teen sex trafficking, and used music to recover from her trauma. Dr. E is a former University of Minnesota professor and Minnesota resident, who now teaches at The Ohio State University, where she is Professor of Education and Literacy Studies. In the tradition of Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. E is a multi-dimensional personality—a performer, recording artist, speaker, and author—with an inspirational message of spiritual and educational empowerment. She has performed her one-woman stage play, PHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life, for various organizations and universities across the country. Her new album, “Songs for the Struggle,” features songs and excerpts from the show. Styling herself as The Inspirational Soul Queen, Dr. E intertwines activism with her performance artistry. She advocates on behalf of those who have been written off. Learn more about Dr. E here: www.giveusfreerecords.com

Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL