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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2018 Minnesota Fringe Festival - Bring Your Own Venue Application

Dying to produce a show in a swimming pool? Lead a scripted walking tour? Do an aerial act? Have an idea for something else that doesn't fit in a traditional theater?

Bring your Own Venue (BYOV) offers the opportunity to stage performances outside of the spaces Minnesota Fringe programs via the application lottery. Companies may choose to participate in the festival as a BYOV if their work is site specific or if they would like to offer something other than a traditional theater experience as part of the festival.

Fringe requires the same $30 application fee for BYOV companies as it does for the regular lottery. If there are more applications than slots, Fringe will hold BYOV location specific lotteries. The Fringe lottery will be held on the evening of February 26th, 2018 at Bryant-Lake Bowl.

BYOV participants pay a reduced producer fee in exchange for providing their own venue and equipment. BYOV producers also have more influence over the number of performances and schedule.

The 2018 Minnesota Fringe Festival has a maximum capacity of four (4) BYOV shows; two (2) in the Northeast Hub and two (2) in the West Bank Hub. See the maps for geographic restrictions:

Time and money

The 2018 Minnesota Fringe Festival takes place Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 12.

The non-refundable application fee is $30, due at submission. Production fees are due March 1 or immediately after the lottery if there is one.

Tier Venue Capacity BYO-Fee
1 Up to 99 seats $300
2 100 - 199 seats $350
3 200+ seats $400

All shows must be between 45 and 60 minutes long, and must run during an existing Fringe time slot.

What you get
  • Up to 7 performances, scheduled with assistance from Fringe staff
  • Guaranteed 70% of your box office receipts. Receipts include 70% of all single-ticket sales to your show plus 70% of the per-seat price for seats filled by pass holder sales. The per-seat pass sale price is calculated by dividing total day pass sales by the total number of seats filled by pass attendees.
  • Ticket sales (advance and walk-up), box office staff and front-of-house services
  • Fringe Producers' Handbook—your comprehensive guide to the festival
  • Use of the Fringe's festival rate contract with Actors' Equity
  • Access to workshops and one-on-one help sessions
  • Customizable page for your show on our website
  • Publicity distribution to major press outlets and regional producers/presenters
  • Artist passes for you and your cast to see Fringe shows for free
Your responsibility
  • A venue or location within a Fringe hub that you have permission to use (and permits, if applicable), is compliant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), accommodations for box office operations, and appropriate services (restrooms, waiting area, etc.) for your intended audience size
  • Providing desired technical elements and personnel to run them
  • Finding or creating a script; acquiring any necessary rights or permissions for existing scripts/music
  • Arranging/contracting actors and director
  • Costumes, props, sound cues and set pieces
  • Marketing your show
  • Arranging necessary visas and work permits if coming from outside the United States
  • Abiding by the Fringe rules and deadlines

Please remember that Fringe is a different producing environment than ‘normal’ production. The Fringe pace is faster, the timeline more compressed, and there is less control over venue choice, tech, ticketing and schedule. Requests that might be reasonable in a single-show venue can prove much more challenging at Fringe. Guidelines and rules are in place to keep the big picture running smoothly - which is also what makes it so much fun!

Is Fringe right for your production?

We believe there's a place for everyone in Fringe and we welcome participation from anyone along the entire artistic spectrum. But Fringe may not be right place for every kind of production. We want you to dream big, but know there are some real limitations you'll have to consider take into account to fit within Fringe's framework:

  • Keep it short: All shows must be between 45 and 60 minutes long including any curtain calls or audience discussions.
  • Keep it simple: BYOV locations often have a variety of use outside of your Fringe show. Whatever your set design, technical configurations, or costuming requirements may be, please keep in mind you will have to negotiate storage and you are likely to have to load everything in and out for every performance if you cannot secure it.
  • Keep it authorized: BYOV Venues are not arranged or managed by Fringe. If you are inexperienced with permitting or contracts, please start your process early, ask many questions, and seek help when you need it. We do not want to see a show get shut down because someone forgot to ask the landlord specific permission or failed to secure the appropriate permit.
The Application

If you've got questions, contact us at info@fringefestival.org. Good luck!

2018 Fringe Festival BYOV Application

Note: This CANNOT change, so think carefully.

Note: You will be able to change this later.

Use the 2-letter state abbreviation

Note: Coming from outside the United States? You'll be responsible for arranging all necessary visas and work permits. Contact amber@fringefestival.org if you have questions about this.

The festival has a maximum capacity of four BYOV shows; two in the Northeast hub and two in the West Bank Hub. If there are more proposals than slots, BYOV will have its own location specific lotteries. BYOV Applicants must select the hub in which they want their show to take place.

  • BYOV - Northeast Minneapolis
  • BYOV - West Bank
Production fees for selected BYOV shows will also be tiered based on audience capacity.

  • Tier 1 (producer fee of $300; audience capacity of up to 99)
  • Tier 2 (producer fee of $350; audience capacity between 100 and 199)
  • Tier 3 (producer fee of $400; audience capacity over 200)

For more information, please check out the Minnesota Fringe Festival Application Guidelines.

Almost Done...

If you ("Company") are selected to participate in the 2018 Minnesota Fringe Festival ("Fringe"), this application will be considered a signed performance agreement between the Company and Fringe. By submitting this application the Company acknowledges and agrees to abide by the rules and regulations contained herein, as well as the rules and regulations of Fringe. The Company may withdraw from the festival with a full refund of producing fees (excluding the $30 application fee) until 5pm on March 23, 2018. Withdrawals are accepted only from the Primary Contact specified in this agreement and only in writing. Should the Company withdraw after the date specified, the Company will forfeit its producer fee. The Company agrees to adhere to the laws of Minnesota, the ordinances of the City in which its performances are presented, and the policies and procedures of the Fringe. The Company accepts all responsibility for adhering to all applicable union, copyright, and immigration regulations, and agrees to acquire any necessary city or state permits. Fringe reserves the right to remove the Company from festival participation if it is in violation of any terms of this agreement, resulting in the cancellation of any and all of the Company's performances at the festival and the Company's forfeiture of all fees and box office payout.

Next up: You will be asked to pay the $30 application fee.

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