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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Pope Joan

By Featherstone Creative

Playing at U of M Rarig Center Xperimental


Warnings: Violence, Adult language, Sexual Content.

Legend says a devious ninth-century German girl disguised herself as a man and tricked the clergy into making her pope. The legend is wrong. JOAN was not the first female pope; JOHN was the first trans pope.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Thu, 8/3 @ 10:00pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 5:30pm


Wed, 8/9 @ 5:30pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 8:30pm

* 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

How did I not know this?

by Brooke Magid Hart on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

Enchanting and engaging history I never heard of. Fabulous cast and staging. Has the depth of a full length play packed into 55 minutes. I hope they get an encore.


by Cetius d'Raven on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 50 shows

Well written and with a strong lead, this play is strong drama with some good jokes and adequate pacing. My only complaint was there were more small flubs than I'd expect by the fourth show.

Engaging, fascinating historical theater

by Kim Musto on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Great acting. Well cast. Superb direction. I giggled, I gasped, I moved to the edge of my seat. A must see that will most surely be bigger in the future.

1 person found this review helpful

Not to be missed! History, Yes please!

by Barbara Crumm on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

First of all I was intrigued when I got my flyer...

Who is this Pope Joan?

this play offers a succinct history lesson we can all learn from

while writing a play about history can be heady or involved-- Pope Joan does the opposite- it captures the moment & the audience with the perfect rhythm: balancing drama, history & laughs is a delicate art form & no simple task

very impressed with the set, lighting & of course every single player/actor

Everyone smoothly delivered a history lesson that I wish I had in high school!

Not to be missed!!!

I want to see it again----if I can get in!


Well done!

1 person found this review helpful

Pope Joan

by TIM on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The lead was very believable as being who Pope Joan could have been. Use of opposite catwalk added dimension to the limited space
at venue. Musical cues were very subtle and did not interfere with dialogue comprehension. Those who played multiple parts were effective in the appropriate roles. I was watching real theater here. Expand this one to a full non restricted time limit play!

1 person found this review helpful

A lesson in history.

by Leif Wallin on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Fascinating. I see potential for a "hallmark hall of fame movie" ( if those still exist).

1 person found this review helpful

I was pleasantly surprised!

by Jim Louis on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 30 shows

This was an excelled performance! It dealt with history and religion with a balance of humor, cleverness and quick wit. Great Job!

1 person found this review helpful

Very well done

by Richard Heise on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 25 shows

They must have gotten their early problems fixed. The performance I saw was very good. Very interesting premise. Really enjoyable.

1 person found this review helpful

Pope Joan

by Geraldine Gulbranson on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Saw this on opening night. It was rough going, occasionally. Very strong lead, (Pope Joan). Scene between Pope Joan and the Cardinal Augustyn was scary. Ending brought tears to my eyes. Lots to think about. Boy, those guys in that time didn't think much of woman and to think modern day religion is based on that opinion. Frightening…..& off-puttinng.

You'll leave wanting to google it

by Anne Christians on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

This production was greatly served by just how fascinating the story is. Technical aspects and blocking were fairly good, but the acting could have used a bit more work-shopping. There were occasional pacing issues, but mostly this was an enjoyable and interesting show.

1 person found this review helpful

Fascinating script, but slow pacing hurt

by Hazen Markoe on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

This fascinating production looks at the story of the medieval legend of Pope Joan, who ruled the Church for 10 days, before being revealed as a woman and killed by an angry mob after giving birth in the middle of a procession. Here, Featherstone Creative looks at the story through the theory that the title character was actually a transgendered person. Many interesting ideas are well thought out in the script and Kjertina Whiting is solid in the title role. Unfortunately, the show was rather leisurely paced and had a low energy that made it difficult to really get pulled into the story. I would still recommend it, but not as a first choice.

Nice script

by Mark Webb on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

This was intriguing and well done. I enjoyed the script, and the main character really carried the piece. It's a fascinating topic which makes me want to research more.

2 people found this review helpful


by Carol McCormick on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

A provocative well-staged intriguing show that tied the past to present social issues.. Later that night I searched the web for historical accuracy of a female Pope.

1 person found this review helpful

Interesting Topic

by Bob L on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Strong historical story and good acting. Most of the production elements worked well. This show is ambitious with some thought provoking moments. It has a decidedly modern political slant for what is probably not a historical truth. The performance are good. I had studied this subject school and found some of the points very interesting.

1 person found this review helpful

Ambitious, well written

by Joy Gullikson on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The premise that Pope John/Joan was transgender is intriguing and seems quite logical. An ambitious production that is well worth seeing.

2 people found this review helpful

A little known piece of religious histor

by Nanette Stearns on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 25 shows

Pope Joan/John led the early Catholic church but was basically deleted from the records. Male? Female? Trans? Does it really matter? S/he was a strong, faithful, and compassionate leader despite the big "Secret." Learning about this peace of history in an entertaining and fascinating way made me want to go further with the topic. Great job to the cast and crew!

1 person found this review helpful

Big surprise hit!

by Laura Wade on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Brilliant writing. Extraordinary talent by actors—especially the lead monk. Fascinating story. Rapt entire time. Go see Pope Joan!

1 person found this review helpful

Pope Joan

by Kathleen Olsen on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Pope Joan shatters our assumptions of what gives a person power in religious circles/hierarchy. Does it have anything to do with one's anatomy? Christy shares an important story that has extreme relevance for our modern culture of acceptance/non-acceptance of gender identity. Bravo to the actors who gave us a smashing opening show on Thursday! The director stretched and guided the talents of this cast to share a very important, provocative production. Don't miss it!!

1 person found this review helpful

Pope Joan

by Peter Davies on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

A great unknown topic; good depiction of the main character; enjoyed it a lot!

1 person found this review helpful

Must see

by Patrick Perry on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Well written and well acted. This play is revisionist history of a sad story that provides a window of real possibilities. This will make you laugh and possibly cry. It was captivating for the entire hour. One of the best Fringe performances I have ever seen.

1 person found this review helpful

Worth Seeing, Like For Real

by Samuel Cole on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

5 reasons why I loved Pope Joan:
1. The main character nails the role.
2. The main characters sidekick nails the role.
3. The dialogue and pace are on point.
4. Substantive material without being preachy. Learning is power.
5. The hour flew by and I was bummed it was over.

2 people found this review helpful

Best Show Yet!!

by Karissa Stotts on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Pope Joan keeps you riveted throughout this true story of the first transgender pope and the blatant church cover up. It's belly-laugh funny, yet incredibly tender and raw. Solid performance by all the actors, especially Brother Einheart, who has perfect timing and beautiful stage presence. I'd see it again and again!

2 people found this review helpful

Pope Joan or Pope John

by Marie Cooney on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

Whether remembered as Pope Joan or as Pope John, playwright Christy Marie Kent weaved a compelling story about an individual who cannot be written out of history, regardless of what the Catholic Church would like. The main two characters were outstanding and the chorus of monks added great flavor to this sorted tale only some would say is not real. I'm not sure which is more difficult: writing a woman out or history or writing a transgender person into history. Regardless, this play will leave you pondering much long after the final black out. Well done.

1 person found this review helpful

interesting history lesson

by Vicki Joan Keck on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Well written and nicely acted historical drama which kept my interest throughout, not a small feat considering it was 10 pm ona weeknight!

2 people found this review helpful

Pope Joan

by Patti Rogness on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Thanks for telling an amazing story in a captivating way. Great show.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Kjertina Whiting

Pope John

He/Him. After a 12 year hiatus from theater, Kjertina dove back in by playing the role of Tupolski for Exciting Play Society’s production of The Pillowman in Bemidji. He also designed and co-directed the production with his sibling, Jesse. He returned to the Twin cities theater scene where he has performed with Gadfly Theater in And Then They Fell and Out Of the Woods. He performed in the immersive production SaucerCon: Us and Them for a Better Future. He also spends a lot of time with The Haunted Basement and improv with Smartmouth Comedy.

Jen Arzayus


They/Them. Jen is a gender-queer artist and teacher who has directed several student performances including The Wiz. Jen is also in the middle of co-directing and starring in a docu-drama called White Cactus about their dad, a Colombian drug lord who got taken down during the War on Drugs in the ’80s. Jen enjoys cos-play, everything vampire, and lives in NE with their cat, Thor.

Steven Flamm

Gunthar, Anastasius

He/Him. Steven has been acting for over 50 years in MN and elsewhere. His last role was Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler. He has worked for a variety of theaters including Theater of the Deaf, Science Live Company at the Science Museum of MN, Candid Theatre, Theatre Coup D’Etat, Theater in the Round, and the Guthrie, and he has been privileged to play roles such as Roy Cohn in Angels in America, Dysart in Equus, the Devil in Damn Yankees, and Clarence Darrow in Never the Sinner. He supports all of his LGBTQ family and is proud to be in this production in these trying times.

Amanda Bacon

Bridget, Chorus

She/Her. Amanda was active in theater in her youth and young adulthood, performing in such shows as Guys and Dolls, Godspell, and Dracula. She is excited to return to the stage for Pope Joan. Amanda is employed as an adolescent mental health therapist and is dedicated to promoting social justice. She enjoys memoirs, music, and chasing after her two children.

Michael Zalar

Papa, Pope Leo, Chorus

He/Him. Mr. Zalar grew into theatre doing experimental productions in the late 1970s, including such roles as MacBeth and Mercutio. Also at that time he began working through several different characters at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. He continued acting after moving to the Twin Cities, until an unfortunate incident left him with a paralyzed vocal cord. That was about a quarter of a century ago.
While his voice has not fully recovered, he is venturing forth once more onto the stage, returning to a family avocation that includes both his daughter and granddaughter. If fortune permits he hopes to be back in the Fringe again next year.

Maureen L. Bourgeois

Midwife, Chorus

She/Her. This is Maureen L. Bourgeois’ fourth consecutive year participating in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. In 2014 and 2016, she wrote, directed, and produced the Lady Z Productions plays The Move (2014) and The Story of You and Me (2016). Maureen has also recently been involved in the past two seasons at Theatre in the Round as an actor, properties designer, and stage manager, and was an extra in the most recent season of the web series “Theater People.” Maureen is passionate about the arts, and in addition to performance and design, she enjoys photography, singing, sketching, and working with young performers.

Wendy Islands



Janet Preus


She/Her. Janet Preus is an editor, playwright, songwriter and director. She’s taught college theater and directed tons of plays, musicals and light operas; founded, produced, directed and sang with a vocal jazz ensemble; and now writes her own shows and nonfiction pieces. She’s an alumni member of the New Tuners Workshop in Chicago where a show was featured in the Stages Festival of New Musicals, and she’s spent lots of time in Nashville learning songwriting from the best. She’s co-founder of the New Musical Theatre Exchange, a development workshop based in Minneapolis, and has reviewed Twin Cities theater for howwastheshow.com for several years.

Christy Marie Kent


She/Her. Christy Marie Kent is a storyteller, writer, and math geek who was born in Mississippi and raised all over the south. She is the author of Moonshine, Madness, and Murder (2016) and the forthcoming Transgression (est. 2018). She lives in the Twin Cities area with her husband, two sons, and a cat that begs to return to a warmer climate.

Marco T. Magno

Costume Designer

He/Him. Originally from Milano, Italy, Marco worked in Europe as a costume designer assistant and later as costume designer for operas, theatrical plays, films (including I Dreamed of Africa and A Knight’s Tale), television productions, commercials and music videos. He lives in Minneapolis, where has designed costumes for the Classical Actors Ensemble (The Tempest, Dr. Faustus, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Volpone and Merchant of Venice), St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN (The Drowsy Chaperone), CLIMB Theatre as well as High School productions. Collaborated with the Rochester Civic Theatre, 2016-2017, where he has been reconfirmed for the 2017 – 2018 season.

More information

Legend says a ninth-century girl from Mainz disguised herself as a man, became a monk, and tricked the clergy into electing her pope. Her deceit was discovered during a procession in Rome when the pope went into labor.

The legend is wrong.

There is only one way this story makes sense. Joan was not a woman playing the long con. John was the first transgender pope.

This is his story, told the right way.


"Trans" and "gender" are both Latin, but no one in Medieval Europe put the words together. But without the language for gender identity, how could his peers understand him? How could historians write his tale? They called him "Joan, the female pope." That would have ticked him off.

John must have thought he was the only man in the world stuck in a woman's body. (He couldn't exactly join a chat group on the Internet. Everyone knows Dark Ages wi-fi sucked.)

This play tells the story of John's struggle to accept himself, his relationship with his gay best friend, and his rise to the ultimate seat of power in Medieval Christendom.


The script is generally true to the historical record whenever details are available. Unfortunately, the earliest version of the story, from Martin Polonus's thirteenth-century manuscript, is only one paragraph long, and later versions have conflicting details. On the bright side, conflicting details mean we get to choose which version to follow.

We can only speculate about what John thought, as a trans man in a homophobic, misogynistic society. But the script includes clips from amazing historical manuscripts that tell what medieval (male) writers thought about women.

The character of Anastasius is an amalgam is multiple historical people.

More historical information will be in the show program for history geeks like us.

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