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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Beyond Limits

By Toolbox Theatre
Created by Nikki Abramson, Sara Truesdale, Gizelle Erickson and Dennis Dienst

Playing at Ritz Theater Studio


Includes artists of color, Includes artists with disabilities

Join Nikki as she refuses to accept the predictions of her doctors. Told at age 5 she would die in her teens, Nikki Abramson pushed past her limits and defied barriers to live her life to the fullest.

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


Thu, 8/3 @ 8:30pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 4:00pm


Fri, 8/11 @ 7:00pm


Sun, 8/13 @ 2:30pm

* 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

Brave, brave, brave! Bravo!

by Christopher DeVaan on August 14, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

It's been a couple years since this show came across my radar. A friend of mine assisted the creation of it, and I finally got the chance to see it!
I am so very proud to call this brave young woman, Nikki, a friend. Her story of labeling, bias, and constant struggle against her own body, since birth, really, is nothing short of amazing. How can you complain about little things in life, when there are people who struggle to breathe, walk, and even just stand up straight?
There were some points where the monologuing to the audience could have been cut shorter, but the message is an important one.
While I have not seen this as its one-woman show origin, I really enjoyed the cast of characters, especially young Nikki.

kinda a testament to itself

by Will Schroeder on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

This is a very personal show about the extremely challenging lines between acceptance & perseverance, and the pursuit of independence vs everyone's inevitable need for support. Nikki's struggles put her in a position where she has to decide very carefully what she'll give her energy to pursue, and to have created a show like this is a huge triumph of will and planning. This show has some amazing perspective on how to address and overcome challenges in life

Hell yeah Nikki!

Still thinking about this one

by Danna Sheridan on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Part story telling and part self-help book, the artist gives the audience examples of her struggles with invisible disabilities and her methods for overcoming them. Some of the text felt repetitive, but 2 days after seeing the show, I'm still thinking about it - the repetition actually helped me remember the show in great detail. As someone recovering from an "invisible injury", I found the show extremely moving. I left feeling like l am not alone. It was honest and uplifting.

Inspirational and Moving

by Sandra Chromey on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

What an inspirational and eye-opening performance! Nikki makes herself vulnerable and allows everyone in the audience to get a glimpse into her life. She has overcome so many obstacles and yet continues to find the opportunities available to her. I'm so thankful I was able to see this performance. I laughed and I cried! I wish I could've heard more of the song, "Rise Up" because it went along really well with Nikki's life.

Inspirational poster.

by Bailey H. on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 29 shows

I had trouble connecting to this performance. I realize it's her story and it's important, but everyone seemed disconnected, even Nikki. One actress seemed bored. There was a Narrator, then there wasn't, then there was. It was all recited like reading a series of phrases off of an inspirational poster.
I would have loved to hear more about her medical condition - as a dialogue, not a narration. So much could have been shown instead of told.


by Melody Hanna on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

A talented cast and inspiring story told with warmth and humor. Nikki’s journey of beating the odds is a thought-provoking journey you won't want to miss.

Beyond Limits

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

Powerful topics of bias, discrimination, disability, and hope. Young Nikki was great ! as well as Nikki herself. Excellent banter between the characters and Nikki, with some well deserved laughs. The reasons I did not give it a 5star because there were some lighting issues and at times the script repeated it self a little too much. Nice job everyone.

Could relate & Learned some.

by Marie Cooney on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

I could relate with being a person with an often non-seen, not understood, or discounted disability. I would have liked to see some of the range of feelings in struggling with and coming to accept limitations and abilities. Appreciated other members of the cast as part of story telling. Suggestion: fast changing of slides at the beginning had a strobe like effect, which made it very difficult for me and possibly others. Can you slow down slide changes?

Tells the story

by Gloria VanDemmeltraadt on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Nikki has beautifully documented and portrayed the frustrations of her own struggles, and those of thousands of others. Thank you to an outstanding cast for telling it like it is. This show is funny, sad, and thoughtful, and I wish my handicapped child could see it. She would still be applauding.

A Show to Open Your Heart!

by Cathy Cowen on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

The writer/actress shares her journey and her metaphorical tool box in a way that allows the audience to connect on a deep level. The music is a great complement to the story line and the humor helps to create a solid bond with the young Nikki as well as the 'present day' star of this show. Great Performance!

2 people found this review helpful

Inspirational, but for me, too cliche

by Michelle Blaeser on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 11 shows

I admire Nikki and all the actresses that put this piece together, but I had a hard time connecting to it. For me, the description of her struggles was overly simplified and presented too much of a 'touchy feely' solution to the difficulties in life.

1 person found this review helpful

Motivational presentatio

by Gene Bard on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Many, many challenges met with an alphabet of solutions. It failed to involve me in, what must have been and are the struggles. Seemed to not get at the feelings. Then the solutions seemed, to me, stereotypical.

1 person found this review helpful

Phenomenal Performance

by Donna Chicone on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Nikki and her cast create a journey and take you on it with them. With a blink of the eye the play is done. Bring you tissues. Nikki will being you to tears with her vulnerability and authenticity. This is a must see at the festival!

1 person found this review helpful


by Mary Schultz on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I knew nothing about this actress when I walked into the play. Now I feel I know Nikki quite well. She tells her story with heart and humor. Her supporting cast is wonderful. Very touching overall.

1 person found this review helpful

Beyond inspiring

by Joan Treppa on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

In the production of ‘Beyond Limits’, Nikki Abramson boldly reveals her innermost self while taking us on a turbulent ride of inspiring success and devastating tragedy. After the show, I shared these thoughts with her: “Nikki, your story is everyone’s story. Most of us just don’t know it yet”. I urge all of you to see this show and find your innermost self.

1 person found this review helpful

Moving and personal story

by Corrie Fiedler on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

Nikki and her supporting cast did a great job of portraying her challenges and how she overcame them. Some aspects seemed a bit simplistic (many health care providers asking for her medical history without sensitivity to the fact that she was adopted), but a motivating story of overcoming all odds.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Nikki Abramson

Actor, Co-Author, and Producer

Nikki is thrilled to take this show from 'No Limits' to 'Beyond Limits.' After receiving 5 star ratings last year at the MN Fringe Festival, she and Toolbox Theatre can't wait to present 'Beyond Limits' an adaption of 'No Limits' a one person show of overcoming adversity. Most recently Nikki has played Jo, a tough loving social worker with Wonderlust's Production's In My Heart: Adoption Play Project held at Mixed Blood Theatre. She is thrilled to bring this story and character back to life. Nikki has enjoyed playing many roles especially with Artistry's The King and I. She has sung with various choral groups and participated in improv groups, and church skits. She is a teaching artist with Upstream Arts and other youth theatre companies in town, teaching acting, improv, and choreography. Nikki has directed, assistant directed, and choreographed youth theatre productions. She is also the author of I Choose Hope and Hope for Today as well as a contributor for several anthologies. Despite challenges, Nikki continues to press into theatre, her true love and passion in life. Nikki gives thanks for her family and friends for their support in this endeavor. She wants to especially acknowledge Colleen Everitt who first spotted her talent, to this amazing production staff, especially Sara Truesdale for being with her every step of this production journey, Dennis Dienst who has helped make this 2017 production possible, and to her doctors and care team who have helped her get to this place. This play is her gift to you. More information visit nikkiabramson.com

Charles Fraser


Charles Fraser has been directing plays at Avalon School in Saint Paul for the past ten years. He has also been directing plays at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin, including a production of Beauty and the Beast this month. As an actor, he has worked in the Twin Cities with the Guthrie Theater, History Theatre, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Illusion Theatre, Actors Theatre of Minnesota, Minnesota Shakespeare Project, and the Jungle Theatre where he was a co-recipient of an Ivey Award for ensemble acting in Driving Miss Daisy. He has also worked as in improviser with ComedySportz, Brave New Workshop, and aboard Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic. Up next, he will be in Zephyr Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream later this summer. He will also be acting in The Royale at Yellow Tree Theatre this winter and in The Diary of Anne Frank at Park Square Theatre this spring.

Dennis Dienst

Stage Manager, Set Designer, Props Master, and Producer

Dennis has put together a set that is easy to use and travels well, which is what a Fringe Show needs. Dennis has worked with a few different theatre groups in town, including 16 shows for Morris Park Players. This is his first work with this group of people and it has been a time of learning for him. Nikki's story and her great attitude have been an inspiration to him. He hopes you enjoy the show. A great big thanks to Joy, Taz and Snickers for giving up time with Dennis so he could dive into this project. Build a set: learn a bunch about perception and bias. What a life …

Sara Truesdale

Acting Coach, Co-Author, and Producer

As a performer, Sara has worked with The Children’s Theatre Company, The Jungle Theatre, Red Eye Theatre, Bedlam Theatre, Teatro del Pueblo, St. Croix Festival Theatre, Theatre in the Round, Lakeshore Players, and Bloomington Civic, among others. Over the years, she’s directed and taught lots of kids. She likes to mentor, thrives on being part of positive collaboration, and enjoys being around the creativity of imaginative individuals. She has a BA in Communication-Theater from St. Olaf College.

Emma Dalen


Emma Dalen is excited to be performing in the MN Fringe for the fourth time. She has acted with multiple theaters in the past, including the University of Minnesota, The Public Theater of MN, Youth Performance Company, and Stages Theatre Company. Look for her in Asa Butterfield and Nick Offerman's movie "House of Tomorrow". Emma is currently a junior at the University of Minnesota pursuing a Theater BA in Performance Creation.

Louisa Darr


Young Nikki, Narrator, Singer

Louisa is thrilled to make her Minnesota Fringe Festival debut with Beyond Limits. Louisa’s passion for performing arts started when she was still very young. As an actor, she has performed at the Children’s Theater, Guthrie Theater, Stages Theater, Lundstrum Performing Arts Center and Valley View Thespians. Currently, she is performing at the Stages Theater and will be seen at the Artistry for Music Man in the Fall. As a dancer, she danced with Ashley Ballet Arts Academy, Hyde Park School of Dance and Joffrey in Chicago and is currently a dance student at Zenon Dance. She has trained at Second City in Chicago for improv. Louisa is also a voiceover actor and has done some commercials. She will be in 8th grade and is delighted to be chosen to the Guthrie School for Future Artists for the school year 2017­2018. When she is not rehearsing and on stage, she enjoys hanging out with her friends.

Sue Gerver


SUE GERVER (Narrator, Ms. Emanuelson, Nikki’s Mom, Ensemble) is thrilled to be performing in Beyond Limits. She performed the role of Erickson in the 2016 Fringe encore-winning production, Airbags. Sue recently has performed the role of Jennie Bartlet in DalekoArts’ Snowed Inn; Eurydice in Theatre Coup d’Etat’s, Antigone; and a choir member in Walking Shadow’s popular production of, The Christians. Her other Twin Cities theater credits include Opal in, Opal’s Husband, (Daytrippers Dinner Theater); Aunt Cat, in the musical, Seriously Bugged (2015 Fringe Festival); Kitty in Six Degrees of Separation (Theatre in the Round-TRP), Queen Elizabeth in Princess Diana the Musical (Actors Theater of Minnesota), Mrs. Mortar in Children's Hour (Minneapolis JCC), Mrs. Bassett in Summer and Smoke (TRP) and The Prioress in Edith Stein (Open Window). She is a member of Raye Birk’s, “Actors Workout”, at the Guthrie and her vocal coach is Michael Gruber. In 2014, Sue had the privilege of being the Guest Artist at her Alma Mater, Simpson College, in Indianola, Iowa, performing the role of Vi in The Memory of Water. She holds a B.A. in Acting from Simpson and a B.S. in Nursing from UW-Madison. Sue also has experience in film and commercials. For more information, visit her website www.suegerver.com.

Gretchen Grunzke


Gretchen Grunzke is thrilled that Beyond Limits is the 6th show she's performed with at the MN Fringe. When not Fringing, Gretchen improvises with ComedySportz, Jesters, and at Huge. When not improvising, Gretchen teaches at Steppingstone Theater, BCT Artisty, Stages Theater Company, and the Brave New Workshop. When not Fringing, improvising, or teaching, Gretchen is probably sleeping. She is honored to help tell Nikki's incredible story.

Linda Hayen


After a 30 year hiatus, Linda returned to theater 15 years ago. She has worked with several theater companies in the twin cities both onstage and off in various capacities. These include Eden Prairie Players, Youth Performance Company, Theater Terra Firma, Prior Lake Players, PlaceBase Productions, Chameleon Theatre, Duck Soup Players, Top Hat Theater, Chain Reaction Theater Company and TigerLion Arts, among others. This is her fifth Fringe show and her favorite one. Nikki is an inspiration and a delight. She loves everything about theater and is grateful to be part of this amazing show.

Gizelle Erickson


After studying the art of Pantomime with Marcel Marceau, Gizelle toured all over the world performing and directing pantomime for 15 years. In 2003 she began to explore more vocal pursuits of the stage through musicals and theater while homeschooling 3 kids and building a career in health and wellness.

Teresa Foushee


In Teresa's own life she scaled a mountain of math anxiety to earn degrees in computer science and accounting, and built a career in the IT industry. With her awesome spouse, Bill, she joined a health and wellness community. There she learned to manage her scoliosis through exercise and learned to do squats while balancing on a ball like a circus bear. She worked through water anxiety with buddies who made space for grace and she now competes in triathlons. When Teresa is not training, singing, playing piano, composing, she’s learning life lessons from her rescue dog, Butch. She is also writing and illustrating her first book for kids, titled “Into the Air” about a fish named Fran who decides to fly. You can learn more about the book and hear Teresa’s songs on www.PosiVibes.com.

More information

Beyond Limits


Teaching Artist and Author Nikki Abramson has teamed up with local playwrights Sara Truesdale and Gizelle Erickson, along with Dennis Dienst, to bring her story to the stage. A diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder, 1 of 10 cases known in a world of 7 Billion, gives Nikki a perspective on life that is unique.  Along with that come the challenges of disabilities that are often not seen outwardly, the identity of being an adoptee, and a woman of color. Overcoming assumptions and ignorance, including her own, with humor and wisdom, she gives the audience members a toolbox of strategies for maintaining hope, even in difficult times.


No Limits was originally produced last year in the MN Fringe Festival 2016. It got 5 star reviews and was well received by many. This year, the message and the cast size are expanding. Beyond Limits is the next extension of this story of difficulty and triumph. A six member ensemble portrays a cast of characters from Nikki’s world, leading the audience through the ups and downs- challenges and contemplation.


Toobox Theatre is searching for additional opportunities after Fringe 2017 to present in other venues, wanting this empowering and thought-provoking piece to reach a variety of locations and different types of audiences. For more information on bringing this show or variations of this, email us: NoLimitsPlayForYou@Gmail.com 

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