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 


The Banana Wars

By The Miller Conspiracy
Written by Derek Lee Miller

Playing at Strike Theater


Warnings: Violence, Adult language.

War. Famine. Pestilence. Bananas. One man takes on America's "small wars" in Central America to show how a century of death and destruction made it possible for you to buy bananas at 60 cents a pound.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Sat, 8/5 @ 7:00pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 8:30pm


Tue, 8/8 @ 7:00pm


Fri, 8/11 @ 4:00pm


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

Thank you

by Janis Emily Peabody on August 16, 2017
This user has reviewed 48 shows

Thanks for putting so much passion into this valuable history lesson. The performance was quickly paced to keep us listening with concentration.

Best History Lesson

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

Derrick Miller provided the best history lesson I never got at school. Informative. Witty. Sad history of US. Thank you for expanding history to forgotten and erased activities of US in South America

Yes to 'educational and witty'

by Corrie Fiedler on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

We enjoyed every minute of Banana Wars and will continue looking for Derek's work and story telling in future Fringes and just 'around town.' Wish the flow and transitions would have been sharper (still wondering about the Iraq segue).


by J. Bach on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 26 shows

Wonderful multilayered story by a great performer and storyteller!

Educational And Witty

by Edwin Strout on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

If you want a good education on USA's involvement with Central America, see this show! You will not be disappointed. Easy to follow, as well as, how-the-hell-do-I-not-know-this-already educational part of the show is priceless. Well worth making a time slot for.


by Mark Giorgini on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Absolutely loved this. Well-written, well-researched, and well-acted with just the right amounts of serious exposition, stupid ha-ha's, and well-informed snark. Appreciated the integration of history with contemporaneous personal experience. Would love to see Mr. Miller take the style and form of this performance and do a contemporary Studs Terkel-esque economic review of various characters affected by events from the mid-2000s to today.

a masterclass on threads of history

by Jeremy Motz on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 11 shows

mr. miller once again knows how to cram a semester's worth of knowledge into under an hour withOUT feeling overstuffed. i feel like he should give room on his program to take notes, and his observation on how to "follow the threads through history" was one of those "why haven't i thought of that before..." moments. his use of structure is immaculate, especially with a deeply seeded joke that takes WAY longer than you think is possible to pay off. make time for this one!

Good One for Scholarly or History Buff

by Shannon Elliott on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I thought the show was fascinating. A good story, well-enacted. I think I missed some of the linear narrative somewhere so I was a bit confused and felt the piece was more about wars than it was about specifically banana wars. Lots of names and places I'll probably look up again later. Thought there was a great discussion to be had about some topics he brought up. Overall, really enjoyed the performance. It had the feel of a story your history buff friend would start off with, "I was researching this wild thing..." and then tangent on a while. I am that friend, so it was fascinating. If you also have a tendency to shore up knowledge, you should definitely go.

Brutally Honest

by Harry Lantto on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Easily the most methodic show on Fringe, Derek Lee Miller pulls no punches on often overlooked events in Central America. He "jack hammers" through centuries of Central American history into what almost feels like a mind assault, but never belittling his audience. I recommend this show, but only if you are ready to digest information at rapid speed.

Interesting, but a bit jumbled

by Danna Sheridan on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

The content was all very interesting. I feel like I walked away with a lot of things I wanted to research or read about later. The show jumped back and forth from past to present - and I actually really enjoyed that storytelling method. But some of the jumps were confusing - especially going to the past. I don't know if the "past narrative" was always linear, and it was hard (for me) to keep the timeline and locations straight. The pace was intentionally fast, but at times it too fast for me to follow. But throughout the show (and pre-show), Derek was very engaging and fun to listen to.

Fun facts!

by Mark Webb on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Derek always seems to find something interesting to talk about, and this show is no exception. He's a great storyteller and gives this little piece of history a nice personal spin. It's fast-pace and well done!

Information-packed & winningly performed

by Florence Brammer on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 41 shows

First of all: I cannot even imagine the skill and discipline involved in not only researching and writing this show, but in delivering this densely packed text at a breakneck speed in such a winning and engaging way. A wonderful blend of history, geography and current events, woven together with both global and personal threads. I would have found some visual projections to have added interest to the show -- perhaps maps, landscapes, or images of the historical figures referenced -- but maybe Miller thought these would detract from the attention the text warrants. Very impressive.

I always knew bananas were evil!

by Sarah Parker on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

But now I know why! I learned so much at this show and had so much fun. Derek did an amazing job weaving multiple threads of world history and personal history together. The effect was that elusive sense of the interconnectedness of the past and the present, the personal and the global. I was expecting to laugh a lot, and I did, but I was also moved almost to tears at times. I think my favorite part was the Mycelium moment. Go and see!

It's a-PEEL-ing!

by Leslie Vincent on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I am a huge fan of Derek's solo work and this show is no exception. Smart, clever, creative, and captivating. A historical, beautifully woven piece delivered by an incredible actor. See it and enjoy the ride!

A few too many threads

by Hailey Colwell on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Intelligent, informative, witty, and even funny, The Banana Wars tells an important story. Derek pulled on an ambitious number of threads to tell it, and I think cutting back on some of them would have allowed him room to focus on the heart of the issue, and to vary the pace. So much [useful, interesting] information was thrown at us, but I was left wanting to hear more about the human impact of the banana wars — namely, about the farmers who suffer because of everything he spent the hour talking about.

Enjoyable history lesson

by Nanette Stearns on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 25 shows

I've enjoyed Derek's performances as part of Transatlantic Love Affair for years and it was fun to see him in a solo show. This little known piece of history revolving around US involvement in the Caribbean, Central and South America made for an entertaining history lesson and gave me a new appreciation of bananas. It's never dull (unlike a lot of history lessons) and gives us a better view of one of our favorite fruits.

The Banana Wars

by Reid Gagle on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Derek's show is bursting with information: the history of the banana, the fascinating Smedley Darlington Butler, the repeated US interventions in Central America, and even some personal stories about Derek himself. Occasionally the transitions between the pieces are a little forced, but Derek's energy and breakneck pace obviate that minor flaw. And don't worry, the history is never dry or boring. Nor is it distant; Derek hints at the ways that this history is still relevant to events today.

The Banana Wars

by Bobbi Pauling on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

This show was everything I expected and more. The mix between historical fact, personal experience and humor was wonderful and well-staged. Just the sheer fact that Miller could memorize all of it amazed me and the person I was with, but to do so with all the punch lines in place, good timing while going back and forth in time and real professional and centered stage presence was wonderful to watch. Miller's show was has now become one of my two favorite fringe shows I have ever seen, and to think had it not been pouring out, I would have missed it.

Historical and personal storytelling

by Kara Garbe Balcerzak on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

Derek Lee Miller is a tremendously talented actor and writer. This show was fascinating and often funny. However, it felt like 2 hours of material was packed into 1 hour. The show includes some historical information and some personal storytelling, but not enough of either to leave me truly satisfied, and the different threads weren't tied together strongly enough. I'd love to see this remounted as a full-length play (maybe even with a small cast?). Despite that, I'd recommend seeing this ambitious show from a very talented artist!

Cast and crew

Derek Lee Miller


Derek is an actor, puppeteer, designer and writer living in Minneapolis. He earned his BFA in acting and technical theatre at Millikin University in Decatur, IL. He has toured nationally as a puppeteer for Madcap Puppets in Cincinnati, OH and regionally as an actor/educator for Twin Cities companies CLIMB, National Theatre for Children and Teatro del Pueblo. As a writer, he has served two residencies at Yaddo Artists Colony in Saratoga Springs, NY. As a performer he was voted Outstanding Male Performance of the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival and was selected by the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers as their Favorite Actor in a Play for 2015. He was also part of the ensemble of the 2012 Ivey award-winning show, Ballad of the Pale Fisherman.

Derek previously served as the Artistic Director for Sandbox Theatre and is currently an ensemble member of Transatlantic Love Affair. He also writes the weekly theater News and Notes column for Minnesota Playlist.

More information

From 1898 to 1934, the United States fought a series of "small wars" in Central America and the Caribbean. Boy, it almost sounds nice when you say it like that!

Join Derek Lee Miller on a whirlwind tour of the Banana Wars, America's first foray into imperialism, and find out how these forgotten fights made the world you know today.

Meet the Marine who saved our nation from a fascist coup! Witness the death of Big Mike! Find the lost King of Calypso! Recoil from the terrors of El Pulpo!

It's a dark, comic romp through the century of greed and destruction that brought you bananas at 60 cents a pound.


"What Derek Lee Miller has done here is, simply put, brilliant."
-Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

"Derek Lee Miller’s colorful, fast-paced history lesson pushes the Fringe’s 60-minute limit, but it’s unfailingly engaging." 
 -Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press


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