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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 Something different 


First Year Queer

By Sparrow Productions
Created by Lyssa Sparrow

Playing at Intermedia Arts


GLBT content, Solo show, Puppetry, Storytelling/Spoken word, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer, First-time producer


Warnings: Adult language, Sexual Content.

After a New Year's breakdown in a bathtub, Lyssa started 2016 by coming out as bisexual, non-monogamous, and by diving into kink. Now she and the queers she met along the way bravely share their true stories.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages Grown-ups only (18+)


Fri, 8/4 @ 5:30pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 10:00pm


Tue, 8/8 @ 7:00pm


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

Good stories

by Sandra Breuer on August 14, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

The first half was the best. The puppet act was the best. I would've liked to seen more of the topic played out as a skid and less as a lecture to the audience. Thanks for the show I did enjoy it and appreciated the topic. I found it inspiring.

Confused, unpolished, not just a phase

by Fringivitis Vulgaris on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

I really wanted to like this show. I really wanted it to have a point. I left feeling that it is still in the workshop phase. The narrative is inconsistent. Starts like a therapy story, veers off into educational video, and careens into attempting bdsm basics. Never really solidified. The raffle prizes were nice though.

I learned a lot

by Mary Davidson on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

But I needed more depth. The show was very well done. Loved the puppets, the honesty, and the way Lisa presented (she was warm and personal). The subjects she covered are important. Maybe next time she can narrow her topics and cover them more thoroughly.

1 person found this review helpful

New Years Fears to New Years Joys

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

Just wanting to die and wish everything was over was very honest and powerful. Use of puppets as tool for coming out to family and friends was hysterical. Video of others who had experience date rape was exceptional crafted. At first video took me out of show, but then I understood why Lyssa included more stories than her own. She is also in video. Trigger resources was important inclusion for anyone to have some one to talk with immediately. Outing depression and anxiety and accepting need for medications was great message for many. Kink lesson and guest was funny, playful, and informative. Only negative is that there was far too much squeezed into one show, giving us some insight but not in depth coverage. But did cover full year!!!

Entertains & Educates

by Sarah Antosh on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I went to this show after seeing the preview of it on the 2nd preview night. I thought Lyssa did a wonderful job of keeping us engaged and entertained. I think the topics were delivered with bravery, transparency, and social responsibility. The unexpected bonus was the parting gift & the door prizes! Go see this one - you won't be disappointed!

2 people found this review helpful

Speak out

by Michelle Morris on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

This piece was wonderful to experience, so vulnerable and honest. I appreciated the trigger warning and the safe space availability. I think this show was fun and informative and a great way to get people talking. You should do your best to go see this.

2 people found this review helpful

Representation Matters

by Gina Musto on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I'm a bisexual artist dealing with anxiety, exploring ideas of polyamory to help me with jealousy. So much of this show was really personally relevant to me. This is only the second time I've seen a show about a bisexual person and the first time I've ever seen involving polyamory and kink culture in a positive light on stage. I loved the frankness and humor of the show and the wide range of topics that don't get talked about often enough - especially rape and mental health. It was humorous, heartbreaking, and empowering and I wish I could give it more than five stars.

2 people found this review helpful


by Kelly M. on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Honest and personal - and sometimes funny too!

2 people found this review helpful


by Andrea DeMont on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This clever, quick-witted show managed to mostly keep it light while covering some heavy subjects. We laughed. We learned something. Very enjoyable!

2 people found this review helpful

More Than I was Expecting

by Julie Schramke on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Having seen the preview, I knew part of the story. I was not expecting such sensitive puppetry, where each puppet character was distinct from the others with just a small costume change and different mannerisms. The show deals with some very challenging topics, but these are tempered by humor, which made the hard parts easier to watch.

2 people found this review helpful

Honest and Personal

by Em Gill on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Wow. Just wow. I didn't know much about this piece when I went to see it last night. But after the show I was thrilled that I saw it. The work is open and honest, not to mention laugh out loud funny. Lyssa really connected with the audience as did the other cast members. The puppet stuff was particularly great (Corrina's dry humor cracked me up!). I was also very impressed at the resources available to the audience during and after the show. The personal stories told were heartfelt. SEE THIS SHOW!!

2 people found this review helpful

Funny and Informative

by Jim Louis on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 30 shows

There was too much to cover in depth in this show. I would have loved more coverage of one or two topics vs so many covered quickly. However I still recommend seeing this show.

1 person found this review helpful

Not Your Average Sex Ed Class

by Steve Looten on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Lyssa does a great job weaving her personal exploration and life story with valuable content. Through humor, touching testimonies, and more, this show demonstrates the complexities of relationship building - whether sexual or romantic. While it's not your average, plot-based performance, First Year Queer is a fun and enlightening time.

1 person found this review helpful

Be you!

by Andy Rakerd on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

This show is more seminar than performance, but it has a message that everyone in the modern world needs to hear. Lyssa Sparrow is at times self-deprecating, empowering, and instructive. There's a healthy blend of comedy and social commentary. The message is clear: love who you want to love and respect others for loving. Or, as Sparrow puts it, "Don't 'yuck' anyone's 'yum.'"

1 person found this review helpful

More a Catharsis

by Trisha Raylen on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 9 shows

This was obviously a very personal show and the performer was strong. Ultimately it brushed over some of the more interesting moments too quickly and focused too much on what seemed to more a cathartic over indulgence that left me feeling left out.

Wanted less lesson, more Lyssa! :)

by Amy Salloway on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

A bright & energetic show in which 26yo Lyssa does a quick, tightly-packed destigmatization of the secrets she'd been harboring for years. I loved the spirit of this play, & I loved tons of the details (Lyssa's puppet work is hilarious, & the physical staging of the entire piece is slick, dynamic & gorgeously lit). That said, because SO many topics were covered, I couldn't invest in any one. I wanted to know so much more: why did someone as bold as Lyssa fear talking about bisexuality? How long had she been hiding this and why? How was she able to embrace kink even though she'd been assaulted? Assaulted?! When, what, wha happened?! I didn't need any of the instruction or PSAs I got. I just wanted the strength of Lyssa's own personal story.

2 people found this review helpful

Lyssa made it fun!

by Jim Chase on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Lyssa was great. Learned a few things, like a lecture, but she made it fun. And she looks much taller on stage.

1 person found this review helpful

I hope you like watching stigma die.

by David Gutsche on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

It's actually amazing that I felt and learned so many things in just 60 minutes. This mostly one-human biographical show will hopefully affirm and encourage you, but it's almost certainly going to challenge you as well. The great thing is? You need that. I need that. We all need that. And Lyssa's educational and personal storytelling is so remarkably disarming, you'll want to cheer for the things you agree with and learn about the things you don't understand.

Be ready for sex-positivity. Be ready for difficult but important discussions. Be ready for LEARNING and CLAPPING and HAPPY YELLING or just sitting and smiling. You do what makes you feel good.

Go see this.

3 people found this review helpful

A good start

by Eric Nelson on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

So much is packed into this, it really should be expanded into 3 or 4 shows (or presentations--which is a better description of many of the segments here). 60 minutes just isn't enough time to go as deeply into any of the topics as I get the impression Lyssa Sparrow could go. She's such a charming entertainer that I would have enjoyed more time. Bravo also to her brave and engaging helpers.

3 people found this review helpful

Enlightening and Enjoyable

by Kari Elizabeth Godfrey on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Lyssa Sparrow is an amazing storyteller with a fantastic, bubbly, welcoming and warm persona that makes you want to hear and see more. Her puppetry was HILARIOUS, and her bravery was something to behold. She made a topic of conversation that some do not feel comfortable with, into an accessible and funny experience. I do not want to ruin anything, but she warned of potential trigger material, and then did a spectacularly beautiful thing with that. She shared a very creatively done, yet important video on a subject that was deeply emotional and personal, had some special guests join her on stage to tell their stories, and she gave gifts away at the end. What a great way to end our Fringe day.

3 people found this review helpful

Important work!

by Beckett Love on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Thank you for doing what you do! Thank you for talking about the queer community and embracing all that makes us weird and sexual. (because those are beautiful and awesome things that shouldn't be shamed or hidden!)

4 people found this review helpful

Destigmatizing the taboo...

by Suzi Love on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

...is sessy

4 people found this review helpful

Not much

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

As a lesbian, I feel that this show portrays the community in a weird and oversexualized light.

Important Theatre!

by Christopher Allen on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

This show (along with F@*k the 90's) blurs the line between performance and dialogue in a way that provides lots of entertainment while also bringing awareness to underrepresented communities. It brings your attention to your blind spots in a welcoming, not scolding, way. It's about bravery, acceptance, and the fact that we're all just people. Do us all a favor and get aware!

2 people found this review helpful


by david schenk on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I came away from this show with a greater understanding of the queer community . Through the use of puppets and story telling the actor takes us on a journey that is enlightening and shows us the courage to stand up and be proud of who we are as human beings. It is very inspirational to hear someone so young speak with such purpose.

2 people found this review helpful

Learning thru laughter

by Doug Anderson on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

This very thoughtful introduction to diversity is a brilliantly show. Orchestrated in a non-threatening, gentle, laugh out loud (and often) way, by the talented Lyssa Sparrow. Well, done!

2 people found this review helpful

Interesting and Informative

by Richard Heise on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 25 shows

Done in several segments relating to her life and lifestyle. Seemed a bit disjointed. I think she could have tied the various segments together a bit better. It was, however, an enjoyable performance.

2 people found this review helpful

Funny, informative, great storytelling

by Scott Eastman on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Wow, so funny, poignant, and informative. Lyssa Sparrow is wonderful, and presents very personal subjects with grace and humor. I learned some important things, laughed a lot, teared up some, and feel so connected with Ms Sparrow. I urge you to see this, you will be glad you did!

2 people found this review helpful

Will See Again

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

Felt a little after school special at times, but was admirably frank in its discussion of sex and sexuality. I usually have a policy against seeing a fringe show twice, but I'm planning to go again so I can bring my partner.

3 people found this review helpful

GREAT Storytelling!

by J. Bach on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 26 shows

Deeply personal, interesting, and moving stories told in creative and captivating ways by Lyssa and several of her friends! Funny, touching, and engaging. Great use of puppetry and props!

2 people found this review helpful

Great Information, Presented Positively

by Sara Robinson-Coolidge on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 49 shows

This show takes on a LOT - bisexuality, non-monogamous relationships, kink, and issues of safety and consent. It's funny and honest. Because the content is so broad, it suffers slightly from a lack of focus. Overall, though, if you're interested in a positive take on the less commonly discussed areas of sexuality, this is great stuff.

3 people found this review helpful

Better than your high school sex class

by Eric Meininger on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 31 shows

This starts out much like any of the many coming out monologues that have played out over the years in the Fringe.... but then it takes a sharp left turn and starts pushing boundaries. I'm pretty versed in sexuality in the queer community, but I laughed, was absorbed in stories that are never told, and learned. Not the best show of the fringe, but one that needs to go on the road. Don't miss this. Bonus door prizes!

3 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Lyssa Sparrow



Lyssa Sparrow is a Minneapolis-based queer performing artist, educator, advocate, and storyteller. She graduated from Viterbo University in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Theater Performance. Lyssa spent a semester abroad in London studying applied theater, which is theater in non-traditional spaces for social justice and change. The companies Lyssa has worked with most in the past five years have been nimbus, The National Theater for Children, Gadfly Theatre Productions, Patrick’s Cabaret, and Raw Sugar. Lyssa recently finished a program with The DIAL Foundation as one of the five Creative Change Maker Apprentices. Over the last year and a half Lyssa has focused on writing and performing her true stories of coming out as queer, poly, and kinky, as well as someone who has lived through sexual assault, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. She recently earned one of the four competitive slots when the Risk! Live show toured to Minneapolis, and was featured on the popular Risk! Podcast on the episode "Identity Crisis."

First Year Queer, premiering at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, will be the first show launching her new company, Lyssa Sparrow Productions.

Anthony Art

Guest Artist

Anthony Art
Anthony is an artist, hooper, parent and involved participant in the LGBTQ+ and Polyamorous communities. He believes in love without boundaries and hopes and works for a safer future for all marginalized people.

His most recent art can be seen on Instagram

Scott Gilbert


Scott is happy to be directing his fourth and fifth shows for the Minnesota Fringe this summer. His other show, The Simple Mind of Dillon Magee is also playing at Intermedia Arts. Previous Minnesota directing credits include: The Antichrist Cometh and We Gather Together for The Chameleon Theatre Circle, and Stay Carl Stay,Perchance to Dream, and Steel Kiss for the MN Fringe festival. He founded Segue Productions in 2012 with the belief that theatre should lead to conversations about current events and experiences we as individuals are facing in our lives.

Ari Newman


Ari Newman wears many hats, but her favorite is the Scottish Tam. She works as co festival-director for the Ae Film Festival, videographer/photographer for Patrick's Cabaret and barista at Peace Coffee. In her spare time, she enjoys cuddling with her tabby cat, going to the Trylon to get nutritional yeast on her popcorn, and overthinking every decision she makes.
You can see more of her work at FlowerTalk: the works of ari newman

Corinna Troth

Production/Puppet Maker

This is Corinna’s first time as a Fringe producer or artist, though she has been an enthusiastic attendee for the past five years. Never one to under-commit, she is also producing The Simple Mind of Dillon Magee for Segue Productions in this year’s festival, also playing at Intermedia Arts.

Corinna holds a B.A. in Theatre and Latin from St. Olaf College. She has worked on numerous Twin Cities productions in a range of capacities, most recently as co-scenic designer for TRP’s 110 in the Shade and prop designer for Theatre Pro Rata’s Goodbye Cruel World. Corinna also serves on the board of 20% Theatre Company.

She lives in St. Paul with her two partners, three of their four collective children and several pets, including Skippy, The Wonderdog.

Sadie Ward

Stage Manager

Sadie and Lyssa met at college orientation weekend at Viterbo University. During an ice breaker game they were paired up as ketchup and mustard, and quickly learned they were both theater majors. In college, Sadie explored both technical theater and administrative work, and graduated with a BA in Theater Studies and a BFA in Arts Administration.

Since college, Sadie has continued to do freelance set and prop design work. You may have seen her work at the following theaters in the last five years: Theater in the Round, Theater Unbound, Park Square, Theater Pro Rata, Chameleon Theater Circle, Lyric Arts, Minnesota Opera, and The Phipps. You can view her portfolio at: sadieward.weebly.com/set-design. Sadie also works as the Human Resources Generalist at the Guthrie, and was previously the Human Resources & Volunteer Coordinator at the Ordway. In her free time, Sadie dotes upon her two wiener dogs Phoebe and Raven.

More information


Heyo, Lyssa Sparrow here, I'm a Minneapolis-based queer storyteller, actor, writer, and advocate. Before 2016 I was extremely depressed and constantly auditioning for roles I didn't want and in relationships where I couldn't be myself. I had a breakdown on New Years Eve of 2015 and decided that 2016 was the year I had to change my life before I lost it to suicidal ideation and self sabotage. So, after suppressing my sexuality for my entire life I came out as bisexual, kinky, and non-monogamous, and entered those communities full force. I switched therapists and got on some anti- depressants and the combination of getting help and finally living my life the way I wanted, saved it. Now, I've found making art around sexuality and mental health is what I want to do. I want to help end the stigma and shame one story and performance at a time.I can't wait to see you at the Fringe, but until then:

Help us make the show happen and learn more about my journey and the evolution of this project - there are some very fun pictures too, so be sure to check out our Kickstarter!

Like First Year Queer on Facebook for updates as we get ready for Fringe and beyond.

Listen to a sexy story from when I was on the Risk! podcast!

Read an article about me, storytelling and First Year Queer in The Column:
Spotlight on the Arts: Lyssa Sparrow!

Looking forward to seeing you soon!


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