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 


Sean Neely

Written by Sean Neely

Playing at Phoenix Theater


Warnings: Adult language.

This show deals with difficult topics, including pedophilia, and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Sean Neely. Theatre. Pedophilia.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages Grown-ups only (18+)


Thu, 8/3 @ 10:00pm


Fri, 8/4 @ 8:30pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 8:30pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 1:00pm


Mon, 8/7 @ 7:00pm

* 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

Truth or Theater

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

I've always been of the opinion that therapy is not art. Or was it? Was this just a random monologue by a character, separate from the performer? It was passionately delivered and I felt his pain, the acting therefore was good. I felt a desire to continue the discussion after the performance, but the opportunity did not arise. Had I done so, I would have said: Keep creating as a way of dealing with what may be a confusion in your sense of childish/sexual play. These three things: creativity, sexuality and childhood are interconnected. It is good to create and the more you channel yourself in that direction and mature your creativity the less likely to "offend" you will become. I hope these thoughts help the character you were playing.

Risky and real (even if it isn't)

by Nathan Bryant on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This dude is, for some reason, destroying himself. And I hate how compelling I find it. It doesn't matter if he's actually a pedophile, his reputation will precede him. Unlike the past few shows I've seen of Sean's, this one didn't seem to be getting off on its own edginess. It was frank and the moral conflicts were contained in the room, not elsewhere at the Caribou Coffee. Dramaturgically awesome. Totally cringy at points, at the right points. I still have a few of the lines stuck in my brain. I will say that the overt critique of "liberal, progressive" culture felt lazy and unnecessary. The show has that critique built into it, it doesn't need to be spelled out. Sean scared me with the fact that he exists. He shouldn't be doing this.

Fairly restrained, actually.

by Andy Rakerd on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

Neely has been getting a lot of negative press because of his performance from two years ago, with dealt with sexual assault and rape. I saw it, and while I'm heartily against censorship in the Fringe, I personally thought it was in extremely poor taste. This show, though following the same format, is somewhat less so. Neely blurs the lines between fiction and reality in his signature fashion, and courageously helps to raise awareness about a serious mental illness. I can understand why some our offended, but it's worth noting that at least this time around he attempts to start a dialogue without threatening violence. Credit where credit is due.


by Rachel Glass on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

not acceptable or good.

Challenging, Beautiful, Dark

by Crosby Reisch on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

This show was complicated, rating it 1-5 doesn't do it justice because what you saw, to so many people, was something very different. I hope this man finds happiness.

1 person found this review helpful


by Emma Kiel on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

One of the bravest pieces I've seen in my life.

Brilliant and Heartbreaking

by Justin DeLong on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 20 shows

I went into this show well aware of the controversy surrounding it, and I left knowing that the consequences of the show made the controversy inconsequential.
I respect this performance and Mr. Neely for no other reason than it started as a one-hour monologue that quickly stretched to another hours' worth of dialogue regarding whether or not it was fact/fiction, whether that factor is even important, and what supports are available for this segment of the population (there are few to none).
If fact, I applaud Mr. Neely for putting himself at risk for addressing and starting this dialogue. If fiction, the same applies.

Necessary Dialogue

by Mitch Vosejpka on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Thank You Sean Neely. Going into the show, I was drawn in because of the controversy of course, but I knew something important would happen on that stage. Sean Neely is raw and vulnerable with his viewers and makes you listen even if you are as nervous as he is. I never felt uncomfortable, but challenged? Yes. Sharing a dialogue with us, Sean sends a powerful and to some, possibly unnerving, message that needs to be heard. I am thoroughly impressed by this presentation and I believe there is something to be learned from the mind of Sean Neely. Attend this show with openness and you will be challenged to think and observe beyond. Dialogues and Communication like this must be had, and I am certain Sean Neely that you are doing what you need.

I couldn't formulate sentences after

by Jon Golden on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

Some of the other reviews are incredibly spot on and they were able to formulate sentences that made sense and that i agree with. I walked out not knowing how to formulate sentences about what I saw. Reality and theater blurred heavily.


by Richelle Amundson on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 39 shows

There was a man outside the theater protesting that the subject matter was not art, but evil. This was art, in my opinion. Art that was about reaching in and asking us to face what we would rather not look at in ourselves individually or socially. It was about choosing to be vulnerable and courageous with who we are-not just who we wold like people would see us as being. I was unsure in reflection about whether the story was personal confessional or dramatization of an imagined experience, but that feels beside the point. It was a plea for acceptance of those parts of us we feel ashamed of and have been shamed for, but remain with us all the same.

My head is spinning

by Florence Brammer on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 41 shows

One of my favorite classes in college was epistemology, the study of what we "know" and how it is that we conclude that we "know." Can we ever really know what is "true'? When does it matter and when does it not? When do questions matter more than answers? Is there a point at which thought trumps action? Are repressed thoughts less repugnant than expressed ones? When are backstories excuses rather than explanations? How can we tell if emotions like remorse (even our own, much less others') are genuine, or merely being portrayed via gestures and physical manifestations of dubious authenticity? And what is the role of theatre and art in this mix of artifice and truth and that wide expanse in-between?

1 person found this review helpful

Didn’t want to see it...

by Patrick Pfundstein on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

...didn't want to like it. As a Fringe-o-phile, I wanted nothing to do with the show, which ultimately is why I scheduled it (art should challenge). Like the show, my reaction is complicated. To give props, Mr. Neely is a talented performer, as I suspect most of what we saw tonight (reading, and ticks and all) was performed. The story has innate power too, and part of that power is the effective veiling of the boundary between reality and fiction. However, that same veil carries strong elements of manipulation and possible contempt hidden under the humility. Guess I’m glad I saw it, but can’t say I liked it.

3 people found this review helpful


by Bradan Swatch on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

If the controversial themes of this show are real, then Sean is facing all of the consequences for what he shared.

If the controversial themes on this show are fiction, then Sean is facing all of the consequences for what he shared.

It is quite the price tag, and I left really believing that either way the message was important enough.

This was a powerful, scary, piece.

2 people found this review helpful

Did what it Intended (I think...)

by Dylan Olmsted on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

I'm giving this 5 stars because I think that it did what it attempted, namely to make you question whether or not what he said was true because it was quite believable. It also made me think about what theatre IS which is an accomplishment in and of itself. The controversy is quite overblown.

go back to church! see this show! urgent

by Jon Stark on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The theater still matters, the work we do still counts and is consequential. Opens with a heartfelt tale that exposes truth of how the theater works on us, and what a fire it lights in us. Even if the reasons are unique to each artist, the story conveys familiar shocks. This is a confrontation with the numinous as masked and ancient as Aeschylus. Near the end of this show, Sean is going to ask the audience some questions. If you are not able to answer YES when you walk out, I plead with you to stay out of the way of those of us who will. There's a different Neely out there (Brad) whose own work moves me, even if in oblique angles, like this one: "The God-Wheel of Fate has stopped for all these kiddies on Yes! Yes to life! And yes to magic!"

1 person found this review helpful

5 Stars = 1 Gold Star

by Gnarles Xavier on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 9 shows

You're not doing yourselves any favors by avoiding this one or writing it off as a shock piece. It isn't; I can't for the life of me see why this was pulled from the festival last year, as I have seen some actually offensive things put on stage. Sean's piece, whether it's a work of fiction or a true testament of his own personal struggle, delves into a sickness that he (and/or his character) never asked for, and would never act on. As for his execution, I was enthralled the whole time. Also, it's only about 45 minutes, which I see as a plus for this festival. If you think of yourself as truly empathetic, give this a shot.

Interesting, not for everyone

by Tara O'Connor on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I enjoyed watching Sean Neely in this because, as other reviewers have already mentioned, he blurs the line between art and reality. He talks about a human experience that most people won't ever be able to truly understand. The show gets a bit slow at some points, but it's worth seeing if you're interested in hearing from unique perspectives.

1 person found this review helpful

No beauty

by Ellie Browne on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

Another failed attempt to shock the audience with some weird new idea. Very upsetting. It didn't make me think, it made me cringe

4 people found this review helpful

Come for the controversy...

by Dahlia Acman on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Stay for the content. "I want to be remembered as something great, but that's not what I am."

We may never know where the line between story and reality lies. What I do know is that I saw 4 shows today and this is the one I thought about on the way home.

1 person found this review helpful

A must-see

by Elise Langer on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This guy, this show, walks the line between theater and performance art beautifully. He gets into your head, shakes your brain like a snow globe and leaves you questioning it all. I loved it. A true work of art.

1 person found this review helpful


by Jason Ballweber on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This was an amazing show. Truly artful. I don't know how to sell you on this show other than to say it is far from needing to be censored. It is empathetic and tender and vulnerable in darkly beautiful way.

5 people found this review helpful

Not For Everyone

by Hector Chavarria on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Sean Neely's work is quite out there. It's uncomfortable, It's awkward, it's strange and it's done so well. The simplicity is genius. The subject matter is difficult and also frightening, and especially so because Sean's line between truth and fiction is very thin.

3 people found this review helpful

Powerful, Difficult

by Jack Bauer on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

A great show, almost not a play at all, that explores the concept of 'sacrifice' in theatre. Sean Neely is determined to say something true, even if it isn't beautiful. Highly recommended to lovers of Artaud, Bataille, etc.

2 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

No cast information provided.

Ghoulish Delights