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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By Cold Lake Productions
Directed by Ernest Briggs

Playing at Ritz Theater Studio


Political content, Historical content, Literary adaptation, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer, Includes artists of color


Warnings: Adult language, Sexual Content, Short show length.

Cold Lake Productions presents a modern adaption of the Pendleton King's one-act play, Cocaine. Cocaine is a two person play that provides a look in the lives of a couple dealing with financial hardships, addiction, and co-dependency.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Sat, 8/5 @ 7:00pm


Mon, 8/7 @ 5:30pm


Tue, 8/8 @ 10:00pm


Fri, 8/11 @ 8:30pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 10:00pm

* 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

Short and to the point

by Veronica Briggs on August 16, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Both actors in this short play pulled into their dark humor for a play that is truly enjoyable. I was left with a smile on my face from the range of emotions I experienced. Something so real and prelevant can be so many things this play gives to us in viewing this play.

Enduring story

by Robert Cohen on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

A tale of addiction from years ago still rings true today. Kudos to the actors!

I wanted much more

by Mark Webb on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Although the cast members were both fine, the script was empty and left me wanting so much more.

Great Show

by Nathan Montour on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

It was a great performance from both actors. They really brought you into their emotional struggles and made you feel their anxiety.

Contemporary script, written in 1921

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

The nearly 100-year old script felt contemporary! Joe was outstanding from the initial twitches on. Nora and the production could use some character sharpening. While her motivation was clear, it was hard to find empathy for her hopelessness.

Strong script

by Karl Johnson on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Overall solid show but personally I wanted more from the actors in feeling their sorrow and anguish.


by Sara Robinson on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

It's amazing to think that this show is actually 100 years old. They knew what addiction was even back then.

Draws You In

by Shiveta Vaid on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The actors did a great job drawing you in immediately, and you really feel the anxiety the characters are grappling with throughout the show. The dialogue takes you to unexpected places over the course of 30 minutes; we learned a great deal about Nora and Joe in that small amount of time, but I was left wanting to know more about them and wishing there were just a bit more. Joann and Richard gave excellent performances - definitely check this out before Fringe Festival closes!

Real performance.

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

Great performance by Doc, he wasn't just acting, he was the character, which I appreciated. Joann had a strange accent, I couldn't understand what it was and it was inconsistent. I would have been pulled in entirely had that not been so distracting. All in all, a good show, wish it could have lasted longer!

Sensational script

by Krispin Jacobson-Shax on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 11 shows

This script is amazing. "Cocaine" clocks in at just about 30 minutes but is engrossing, fascinating, and yet so dang simple. The script is truly a star.

This sterling text, though, only emphasizes the flaws in the actors who, though not by any means awful, are sort of just... serviceable. They tend to play at just one level the whole time. And yet, despite their failings, the play rises above them. Although it seems to miss creating truly beautiful moments where there is quite clearly tons of potential, in the end, I am very glad I saw it. A very transporting, strong story.

Can I get some more?

by Michele Briggs on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Doc and Joann give true performances that allow the audience to feel what these characters are going through. The tension between the two makes you forget that you are watching a play. It leaves you wanting more.

Glad I saw it

by Fourth Wall on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

They definitely pulled off the addiction piece of this play...but not the co-dependency, which was necessary for the second half to work. The play drew you in nonetheless. Good one to schedule a meal break after since it's 30 minutes.

Strong performance

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

This show doesn't do the easy thing and rely on the shock factor of addiction to engage the audience. Instead, the acting and the story does the leg work. The story is good, the acting is brilliant!


by Pam Christensen on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Joann Oudekerk and Richard Woods skillfully portray a couple caught up in the hopelessness of addiction and codependency. The sparse stage crackles with tension as Joann and Richard compassionately tell this timeless, 100 year old, story. Don't miss it.

1 person found this review helpful

Very Impressed!

by Loreal Loftus on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I felt connected to the pain of poverty and struggle of addition through the life perspective of the addict dealing with it. I felt pain they were feeling and could relate to the solutions they were considering that seemed so logical to them in their situation.

Strong material

by Shelagh Linklater on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

While the writing was strong and intense, the performers could not convey the desperation of the characters. They were in dire straits but I could not believe their anguish.


by Jennifer Woods on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Cocaine has one job, to leave you wanting more. The writing does a good job of taking you in an unpredictable direction in such a short period. Doc's performance was powerful showing the audience the strong and vulnerable sides of Joe's character. A definite must see.

Seriously powerful

by Jeb Hagan on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This is a slow burning piece full of tension. Joann Oudekerk seems hesitant as Nora, but that works for this nervous character. Richard Woods gives a winning performance, lending some warmth to a dark story.

1 person found this review helpful


by Lanka Dasanayaka on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This two person cast does a phenomonal job of emersing you into their world! Excellant acting!

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Ernest Briggs


A native of Minneapolis, Ernest Briggs has worked as a professional actor and teaching artist in Minnesota and Los Angeles. Ernest received his Master’s in Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Florida.

As an actor his theatre credits include productions with Mixed Blood Theatre, Teatro Del Pueblo, The Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Bloomington Civic Theatre, Nimbus Theatre Company, The Flower Shop Project, Bridge Productions, The Minnesota Short Play Festival, The Minnesota Fringe Festival, 20% Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, New Native Theatre, Minnesota History Theatre, and the Playwrights’ Center in the Twin Cities. He has also appeared at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, Next Stage Theatre and the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles.

Ernest received his training at the University of Florida (MFA), the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AA), the University of St. Thomas (BA) as well as training in Improv theatre from the Brave New Workshop. He has studied with a wide variety of accomplished artists including Kevin Marshall, Dr. Mikell Pinkney, Yanci Bukovec, Tiza Garland, Steve Busa, Miriam Must, Theresa Hayes, Judith Bohannon, Brenda Beck, Mary Bleier, Perry Hart, Karen Hensel, Jamie Nichols, Sharon Jakubecy, Misako Tsuchiya, Linda Brenna, Scott Reiniger, Carl Reggiardo, Timothy Landfield, and Alex Billings to name a few.

Ernest is currently an Equity Membership Candidate and SAG-AFTRA eligible.

Joann Oudekerk


Joann Oudekerk, received her BFA in Theatre Performance from Viterbo University and has since been acting and modeling in the Twin Cities. A few companies she has worked with include the Guthrie, SPARK Theatre and Dance, Underdog Theatre, Open Window Theatre, Green T Productions, Sparkle Theatricals, Chain Reaction Theatre, Live Action Set and Park Square Theatre. She is also Chef de Cuisine at Forepaugh's Restaurant in St. Paul. Joann can be seen next in Chain Reaction Theatre's "Body and Sold, " performing October 14th - November 2nd.

Richard "Doc" Woods


Richard D. Woods was born and raised in Gary, Indiana and resides in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. He is a seasoned actor in the Twin Cities. Richard’s most recent role was Derrick from the stage play Redemption (2017, Nimbus Theater) Langston Hughes from the original stage play Warm Dark Dusk (2016, Urban Spectrum Theater), Officer Jack Stone from Miles Between Us (2015, II Films) and Jabari in the stage play Man in Her Dreams (Freshwater Theater 2014). Richard has been in numerous stage plays in the Twin Cities over the years. He enjoys acting, spending time with his family and being a mentor and League Director for the Upward Sports Basketball Program for youth in Brooklyn Park. He credits his success to God, his family and friends for their continued love and support. Richard will be performing next in Nimbus Theatre's Luldow, November 4 - November 19.

Humble Cup