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 850 performances of 167 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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. Pro tip: 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 850 performances of 167 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 go live mid-November on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, all shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Attend: Thanks to the new day pass system, attending Fringe is easier and cheaper than ever.

Volunteer: Our 400+ 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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 + Token = Your Admission

Everyone needs a valid pass to see a show. In addition to your pass, you will receive a token at the venue which guarantees you a seat. Turn in your token to the usher when you enter the theater.

More information about passes and policies here.


Optional reservations guarantee a seat for a particular performance and can be purchased online in advance. You must also have a valid to get in. Day passes can be bought online with a reservation to save time, and can be picked up at the venue box office 30 minutes before the performance.

More information about reservations here.


For everyone's safety, Fringe does not allow late seating or re-admission. Photos and video are prohibited without written permission from the production staff. Fringe cannot provide refunds or exchanges.

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Pope Joan

By Featherstone Creative

Playing at U of M Rarig Center Xperimental


Just so you know, this show contains 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


Sun, 8/6 @ 7:00pm
Audio described


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.

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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



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


Michael Zalar

Papa, Pope Leo, Chorus



Midwife, Chorus

Wendy Islands


She/Her. Wendy Islands is a familiar face to many of the Twin Cities DIY spaces , story telling venues, and neighborhood dive bars. She has performed as lead singer and lyricist in several punk-rock bands. In her leisure time, Wendy enjoys cooking, gardening, and researching.

Janet Preus


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.

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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