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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What You Will

By Jammed Desk Productions
Created by Henry Ellen Sansone, Sam Bates Norum, Kiaran Hartnett, Danylo Loutchko & Laura Torgeson

Playing at Phoenix Theater

"Words are grown so false, I am loathe to prove reason with them.” Foolishness. Disruption. Assumption. New beginnings and uncertain endings. An exploration of “Twelfth Night” through transgender identity.

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


Sun, 8/6 @ 10:00pm


Wed, 8/9 @ 8:30pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 5:30pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 5:30pm

* 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

Superb slice of Shakespeare!

by Brian Wene on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Jammed Desk brought great energy & musicality to Shakespeare & the trans community. The actors performed the Bard's language flawlessly & sang to the melodies of superb ukulele tunes. I am excited for Jammed Desk's future!

Great message, ok delivery

by Jon Golden on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

This show is great, with amazing young talent, and a message that is very relevant and poignant at the moment. The flaws this show had were in the language I believe. I know this story, as well as can follow shakespearian language quite easily, but even I occasionally had a hard time following. Instead of letting the words flow through and really be crisp and clear, almost everyone talked from the back of the throats and rushed the entire time which just draws me out of the poetry of the words. The highlights of this show though are by far the music and the movement pieces. This group really excels in those moments and they are captivating to watch. Especially the last few minutes.

A success

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

This piece captures a very important look at a trans identity right now. Very thoughtful piece about queer identity and brings the Shakespeare into the 21st century in such a real. Huge props to the cast, especially those who put their personal identity into the limelight.
Congratulations and break a leg at the final showing.

1 person found this review helpful

Timely and Necessary

by Rachel Lawhead on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Truly excellent speaking and clear passion combine expertly in this fabulous show. The premise was unique and fit the text perfectly. One of the best re-imaginations of Shakespeare I've ever seen. The Bards words are still important but in order to keep them relevant, we must re-examine them. This cast did this and so much more. A must see!

1 person found this review helpful

Cool Premise. Okay Acting.

by Holly Peterson on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 18 shows

I really like the idea that Viola was trans and that her brother finding her actually ruined the nice little life that she set up for herself. More could have been done leading up to the end to give us hints about what was going to happen, probably through some cuts to the stuff about her loving Orsino, etc.

The modern dance parts didn't really add to the story and generally felt either self-indulgent or way too literal. The incorporation of music was great. Everyone could have worked on their line delivery. Most of it came off pretty stilted.

Overall this is a really talented group of kids. I cannot wait to see what show they rework next.

Well done Shakespeare

by Eric Meininger on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 31 shows

There was no stumbling over these words of the bard and the musical interludes for the story. Well done! Recommended.

1 person found this review helpful

Excellently crafted

by Joseph Bricker on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

As I'm thinking about various aspects of this piece, I'm stunned all around. The grasp of the language was firm, the use of movement and music was simultaneously gorgeous and heart-breaking, and the lens through which they examined this story was thoughtful and clear. Overwhelming success.

1 person found this review helpful

Can't stop thinking about this play!

by Jenni Norum on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Five talented theater students have created a piece of art. Riveting, beautiful singing, a deep, yet humorous work on gender identity with the best of Shakesperian acting. Blown away. Still thinking of it. Highly recommend.

1 person found this review helpful

The importance of Shakespeare writ small

by Christopher Bates on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

A phenomenal production. The necessary constraints - limited time, limited space, limited budget - are addressed so beautifully and creatively. This finely honed abridgement runs 400 year-old words through a timely lens and the results are spectacular and thought provoking.

What You Will

by Mary Quello on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The chemistry among these actors was incredible. The music and the movement flowed beautifully. The smile never left my face! Glad I went!

1 person found this review helpful

Wonderful performance!

by Aviah Stillman on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I am so impressed by how well everything was weaved together. It was a beautiful show that left me thinking! Absolutely amazing :)

1 person found this review helpful


by Tim Hartnett on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

What a great show! The music was great and I really appreciated the excellent acting. A must see !

2 people found this review helpful

Beautifully told

by Maggie Caplan on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

LOVED IT. Absolutely gorgeous, great handle on the language, wonderful job conveying Cesario's identity and story. Loved the music and dance. Can't wait to see it again.

2 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Henry Ellen Sansone


Henry Ellen Sansone is an actor, theatre maker, and educator. They study Theatre Arts, Gender Women and Sexuality Studies, and Spanish Studies at the University of Minnesota. Recent theater credits include: performing and writing for "The Bechdel Show" (Slap Happy Studios / Bryant Lake Bowl + Theater), Moritz in "The Bitch of Living" (UMN Open Stage), Mrs. Peachum in "The Threepenny Opera" (UMN), Moon/Miller in "A Penny for Brecht" (UMN Creative Collaboration) and Banquo in "Macbeth" (UMN Open Stage). Teaching credits include: assistant speech coach at De La Salle High School and two-time teaching apprentice with First Stage Theater Academy. They are also a drag king with the RowdyRuffBoyzzz. Henry Ellen can be seen this fall in "In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play" and this winter in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", both at the University of Minnesota.

Laura Torgeson


Laura’s recent work includes performances through the University of Minnesota as Polly Peachum in "The Threepenny Opera" (UMN Mainstage), Melchior in "The Bitch of Living" (UMN Open Stage One Act Festival), Fanny in "A Penny For Brecht" (UMN Creative Collaboration), and Kate Rushton in "Working" (UMN Mainstage). She also has acted in and throughout the Twin Cities as Gina in "Donald Giovanni in Cornlandia" (Mixed Precipitation’s 2016 Picnic Operetta ), the Lamb in "Resurrecting Resilience" (part of Patrick’s Cabaret’s headline-inspired Lightning Rod performances), and helping to perform a restaging of Emma Sulkowicz’s Mattress Performance (Walker Art Center).

Sam Bates Norum


Sam Bates Norum has been a lifelong participant in theatre, debuting at the impressionable age of 3 as the middle goat in "Billy Goat's Gruff". Since then, he's been cast in dozens of productions, but has more recently focused on building his skills as a well rounded theatre creator at the University of Minnesota's Theatre Arts - Performance Creation program. There, he will be in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" this coming winter.

Danylo Loutchko


Danylo is currently a student at the University of Minnesota studying Theatre, English, and French. His most recent theatrical work has been "God's Ear" (UMN Mainstage), "The Inspired Water Fountain Players present The Elephant in the Room" (UMN Open Stage), and a university funded research project about the theory and philosophy of clowning. He is also a magician and writer.

Kiaran Hartnett


Kiaran is a Minneapolis-based theatre artist. Highlights of the past year include: studying the Margolis Method in Barcelona, assistant directing the First Stage Theater Academy’s Contemporary Company Class production of "The Lord of the Flies", and working at Next Steps - a theatre program for students with autism. Recent theater credits: Nurse in "God's Ear" (UMN), Ilse in"The Bitch of Living" (UMN Open Stage), Dolly in "The Threepenny Opera" (UMN), and Witch in "Macbeth" (UMN Open Stage). Music and Composition: "God's Ear" (UMN), "The Bitch of Living" (UMN Open Stage). Kiaran can be seen this fall in "The Queering of the Shrew" (UMN) and this winter in "A Midsummer's Night Dream" (UMN).

Anna Pladson

Stage Manager/Assistant Director

Anna Pladson graduated from the University of Minnesota this past spring with a BA in Theatre Arts. Anna has stage managed for "Shrek the Musical" and "Mary Poppins" (Home and Community Options), "HEADSHOT" (Margolis Brown Adaptors), and "Dancing on the Belly of the Beast" (Off-Leash Area). In the fall of 2016 she performed in "Bluebeard's Dollhouse" (Combustible Company). Most recently, Anna performed in "The Bechdel Show" (Slap Happy Studios / Bryant Lake Bowl + Theater).

Samantha King

Graphic Designer

Samantha King is a student pursuing dual degrees in Graphic Design and French Studies at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. This is Samantha’s first time working with a Fringe Festival production and she is honored to be collaborating alongside such creative minds. This summer has granted her the opportunity to work with not only the “What You Will” cast on their promotional designs, but also as a Graphic Design Intern at the Alliance Française of Minneapolis / St Paul, a Studio Management Intern with Fontlove Letterpress Studio, and a freelance designer. Samantha can be contacted at SamanthaGKing@gmail.com.

More information

One of the TOP PICKS according to Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine!

A Note from the Creators

“What You Will” is an exploration of the classical, heightened text in Shakespeare’s "Twelfth Night" through a transgender lens. Gender has always been a major theme in Shakespeare’s plays, but as our understanding of gender expands, we can no longer ignore identities that have been denied visibility in the canon. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  A Note from the Dramaturg 

Traditionally, “Twelfth Night” centers around two twins - a man and a woman - separated by a shipwreck. In the aftermath, the woman makes the decision to dress as a man, presumably for safety in this strange, new land of Illyria. Mischief ensues and mistaken identity occurs, but ultimately all is remedied in happy marriages. When I revisited this text recently, I started to have a lot of questions about our assumption that this character is cisgender (that is to say, their gender aligns with the one they were assigned at birth). Did this person really just roll up on the beach and decide to dress as a man? Or is there a history here? Why do we assume this person is a woman - just because a captain who doesn’t know him calls him “lady” and “madam”? Why do we refer to him by the name he is called only in Act V, and not the name he goes by for the rest of the play - Cesario? And so started a further exploration into “Twelfth Night”, assuming from the start that Cesario is a trans man and not a cis woman. 

The play is rife with language around Cesario’s gender - “I am the man”, “This is Illyria, lady”, “A sister”, “Of charity, what kin are you to me? What countryman?”, “boy”, “madam”, “youth”, “I am a gentleman”. No one can seem to quite pin down where Cesario lies on the spectrum of gender - being referred to as “a fair young man” in one scene and being told that everything about his body “is semblative a woman’s part” in the next. And while we could use these feminine gendered terms to deny Cesario’s gender as a man, to me it opens about more questions about the complexities of this individual’s trans identity that dominant narratives tend to erase for the sake of palatability. 

Understanding Cesario as a cisgender character (i.e. a woman dressing as a man), while a legitimate (and the most common) choice, is just as much a lens through which we see this story, and not an inherent truth of the text. In looking at the role of Cesario, I am going to inevitably understand this character through my lens of being trans. How are lines informed differently when we don’t assume Cesario is cisgender? How does this change his relationship to the other characters in the play? How does he feel about what he refers to as his “disguise”? What is Cesario’s relationship to manhood and womanhood? To androgyny? These questions have been essential to our understanding of the play and to centering a trans perspective, which in Shakespeare is almost always invisible. 

So, why Shakespeare to explore a trans experience? I believe heightened language should be given to those who live heightened experiences, and disrupting the apparently singular understanding of Shakespeare is the first step to taking it off of its pedestal. Space should be found in our imperfect Western canon for a whole range of different identities that have always been there, but are usually left hidden - through both the inclusion of new works and a more expansive understanding of old ones. 

And besides, Shakespeare is dead - we’re not. 

Cheers!                                                                                                                                                                                                     Henry Ellen Sansone

Further Reading:                                                                                                                                                                 “Shakesqueer”, edited by Madhavi Menon                                                                                                                   “Glossary of Terms - Transgender”, created by GLAAD                                                                                               “Don’t Call me Ma’am: On the Politics of Trans Casting”, article by MJ Kaufman

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   Resources for Trans Folks

Outfront Minnesota                                                                                                                                                                 Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition                                                                                                                     Transgender Law Center                                                                                                                                                                   Trans Lifeline / Trans Assistance Project                                                                                                                           Twin Cities Queer Masculinity

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Grand Island Theatre is a collaborative theatre company based in Minneapolis. This is Grand Island Theatre’s debut performance. The five core members met at the University of Minnesota while pursuing BAs in Theatre Arts - Performance Creation. For more information and to check out what they’re about visit: www.grandislandtheatre.com

Sunrise Banks
Ghoulish Delights