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.

Yep. That's right. Each year we select our lineup by placing numbered ping-pong balls into a bingo cage and pulling 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 and provides the support to make producing a show as easy as possible.

Anyone (yes, anyone) can apply to have a show in the festival. If you'd like to have a show in the 2017 festival, applications will go live in November here on our website.

Minnesota Fringe is one of many fringe festivals across the nation and around the world. Check the rest of 'em out here.

The mission of the Minnesota Fringe is to promote freedom and diversity of artistic expression by linking adventurous artists with adventurous audiences.



Shows start and end on time at the Fringe. With 880 performances of 169 shows in just 11 days, we're on a tight schedule. Shows 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 the weekends there are additional shows at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Late seating: There is NO LATE SEATING at Minnesota Fringe. Here's why. Beyond keeping the festival running on schedule, our primary reason for no late seating is safety.

Safety for people on stage: 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 our patrons: Entering a darkened theater (and possibly the first time a patron has been in a particular space) and trying to find open seats is not only dangerous for the late patron but also for our volunteers and any seated patrons as well.

Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Republic, 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 (or two) and talk. Talk about what you loved. Talk about what you didn’t. Meet the artists behind the shows and find out what you should see tomorrow. You never know what will happen at the Fringe, but dropping by Central gives you a serious head start.


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. Pro tip: 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.


Choosing a Show

With 169 shows to choose from, it's scandalous to see just one. But how to choose your perfect lineup?

Search by genre: You can filter for genres when you're trying to decide what to see.

Talk to people: It only sounds scary. Just look for the folks in lanyards. Pro tip: Lanyards indicate Fringe artists - they'll be glad 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.

Get Involved

Fringe isn't just a festival - it's a community, and it couldn't exist without people like you.

Volunteer: Our 400+ 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!

Be social: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Republic, for a beer, a burger and maybe even some late-night shenanigans.

Create your own show: Applications for the 2017 festival will go live mid-November on this website. The Fringe is open to everyone, all shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Box Office Info

Reservations are optional and may be bought in advance through the Fringe website. Advance sales stop at 1 pm on weekdays and 10 am on weekends. A reservation guarantees you a seat for the show. You must also be wearing a day pass wristband to get in. Day pass wristbands can be purchased at any Fringe venue 30 minutes prior to show time, as well as online with a reservation.

Purchases made in advance allow you to bypass the venue box office completely. Check in with a Fringe volunteer at the house door to pick up your reservation starting 30 minutes before show time. Once reservations are purchased, they are guaranteed and will NOT be resold.

Payment methods: Fringe accepts cash, all major credit cards and checks made out to "Minnesota Fringe Festival."

Kids at Fringe: There is a recommended minimum age for each (see individual show pages on our website). It is up to the parent/guardian to make the final decision; Fringe makes no guarantees about content.

Day pass wristbands: ALL patrons must have a wristband to see a show. Your wristband serves as your pass to any show in the festival on a given day. Wristbands are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends.

Wristbands for kids 12 and under will be available in the venues during the festival for $5 every day.

Late seating: Nope.

Refunds: Nuh uh.

Press Kit

Fringe essentials
  1. Name: Minnesota Fringe Festival on first reference; Fringe or Minnesota Fringe thereafter
  2. Dates: Thursday, August 4 through Sunday, August 14, 2016
  3. Place: Various stages in Minneapolis
  4. Shows: 168 different productions
  5. Running time: All shows run 60 minutes or less
  6. Tickets: In 2016, Fringe will be ticketed with day passes. Weekday passes cost $16, granting access to up to four shows. Weekend passes cost $22, granting access to up to seven shows. Tickets will go on sale starting July 1 at fringefestival.org and at box offices 30 minutes before the start of a performance.
  7. Website: fringefestival.org
  8. Anniversary: 2016 is Fringe's 23rd year
  9. About us: Fringe is an annual performing arts festival in the Twin Cities. For 11 days, over a thousand artists present works in every discipline and genre. No one selects the participating shows. Instead, a lottery determines which of over 500 applicants win production slots in the festival.
  10. Press contact: Ann B. Erickson, Associate Director, ann@fringefestival.org
Why cover the Fringe?

Theater like none other

From our selection process (shows are selected by random lottery, not by a committee of dramaturgs) to the festival's vibe (our ushers are all volunteers who wear T-shirts and shorts), Fringe is the performing arts festival audiences can get close to.

Fringe is fast-paced and lively. We don't have technical glitz and dazzle, just the spectacle of raw talent and the buzz of thousands of attendees who trade theater reviews like other people trade stock tips or baseball cards.

Audiences are encouraged to take artistic risks at Fringe - just like the artists. One day at the festival costs a maximum of $22, meaning our audiences can take a gamble on something they've never heard of or stumble upon a hidden gem.

Because we don't believe barriers should be placed between an audience and any artist, we shatter those barriers. Regardless of pedigree, each producer is given an equitable performance schedule, each pays an average of about $400 for a professional set-up, and each is guaranteed 70 percent of box office receipts. In addition, we provide producers at all levels with an education in the business of making art.

The right story for your audience

We collect copious details about each show, making the job of finding the right story a breeze. No matter how broad or specific you'd like to get, Fringe staff will be happy to help you find the right artists or attendees to talk to.

If you're interested in covering the festival, we can customize the show information you receive (or all of it, if you like), including:

  • Short, 210-character show descriptions, suitability for kids and genres

  • Detailed descriptions of the show, including background stories, staging and artistic influences

  • Show photos and videos

  • Accessibility information, including ASL-interpreted and audio-described shows

Part of a growing worldwide tradition:

Minnesota Fringe is proud to be part of a worldwide tradition of fringe festivals that originated in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland. We're a founding member of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals (USAFF). More information about the fringe movement in the United States is available at fringefestival.us.

Box office information


(Day passes and reservations go on sale July 1, 2016)

    Day passes

  • Weekday pass: $16; grants access to any show (maximum of 4) on a given weekday of the festival
  • Weekend pass: $22; grants access to any show (maximum of 7) on a given Saturday or Sunday of the festival

Fringe Button

Previously required for admission to the festival, the Fringe button is an optional $4 purchase that gets you year-round discounts to local theater.


All seats are general admission. There is no late seating at Fringe because it's too disruptive for the audience and difficult for our all-volunteer box officers to manage. With only 30 minutes between performances, we have to keep things running on time. (No, there are never exceptions.)

Fringe locations
  • Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W Lake St.
  • HUGE Improv Theater, 3037 Lyndale Ave. S.
  • Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S.
  • Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Ave. S.

  • West Bank:
  • Barbara B. Barker Center for Dance, 500 21st Ave. S.
  • Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 S 4th St.
  • Playwrights’ Center, 2301 E Franklin Ave.
  • The Southern Theater, 1420 S Washington Ave.
  • Theatre in the Round Players, 245 Cedar Ave.
  • University of Minnesota Rarig Center (3 stages), 330 21st Ave. S.

  • Northeast:
  • The Ritz Theater (2 stages), 345 13th Ave. NE
  • Strike Theater, 824 18th Ave. NE

  • Site-specific:
  • Matthew Park Picnic Area, E 25th St. and 27th Ave. S
  • Mill City Museum, 704 S 2nd St.
  • SpringHouse Ministry Center, 610 W 28th St.

  • Fringe Central:
  • Republic, 221 Cedar Ave. S
  • Fringe by numbers

    Number of shows

    • 2016......168
    • 2015......174
    • 2014......169
    • 2013......177
    • 2012......165
    • 2011......168
    • 2010......169
    • 2009......162

    Number of performances

    • 2016......869
    • 2015......909
    • 2014......878
    • 2013......897
    • 2012......840
    • 2011......865
    • 2010......876
    • 2009......843

    Tickets sold

    • 2016......47,864
    • 2015......50,338
    • 2014......50,265
    • 2013......50,007
    • 2012......46,284
    • 2011......48,432
    • 2010......50,222
    • 2009......46,217

    Average attendance per performance

    • 2016......55.1
    • 2015......55.4
    • 2014......57.2
    • 2013......55.9
    • 2012......55.8
    • 2011......56.0
    • 2010......57.3
    • 2009......54.8

    Gross box office revenue

    • 2015......$411,714
    • 2014......$380,880
    • 2013......$365,101
    • 2012......$342,637
    • 2011......$362,599
    • 2010......$369,201
    • 2009......$325,463

    Total artist payout

    • 2015......$285,770
    • 2014......$258,738
    • 2013......$245,223
    • 2012......$230,997
    • 2011......$243,792
    • 2010......$249,116
    • 2009......$215,600

    Top ticket price

    • 2016......$22 (switch to day passes vs. single tickets)
    • 2015......$14
    • 2014......$12
    • 2013......$12
    • 2012......$12
    • 2011......$12
    • 2010......$12
    • 2009......$12
    2016 Fringe calendar

    Monday, June 6: Full schedule available for press

    Show information and contacts for the 2016 Minnesota Fringe available to press; email Associate Director Ann Erickson for more information.

    Friday, July 1: Website launched

    Full festival schedule and ticket sales available at fringefestival.org.

    Monday, July 18: Fringe Previews #1

    Three-minute previews of 30 different shows at the University of Minnesota Rarig Center Thrust stage.

    Monday, July 25: Fringe Previews #2

    Three-minute previews of 30 different shows at the University of Minnesota Rarig Center Thrust stage.

    Wednesday, August 3: Touring Artist Showcase

    Previews from shows by artists from around Minnesota and across the country.

    Thursday, August 4: Opening Night

    The first day of the 2016 Minnesota Fringe Festival. Shows begin at 5:30 p.m.

    Monday, August 8: Opening weekend numbers announced

    Attendance figures for the festival's opening weekend released on fringefestival.org.

    Saturday, August 13: Fringe Encore announced

    The festival's final performance slot - Sunday, Aug. 14 at 8:30 p.m. - is reserved for each venue's top-selling show. This provides one last chance for audiences to see the surprise sleeper or sold-out blockbuster.

    Sunday, August 14: Closing Night Party

    A final farewell to the 2016 festival

    Monday, August 15: Official numbers released

    Final numbers - attendance, box office earnings and top-selling shows - are formally announced.

    To reserve press seats at any of these events or for more information, email ann@fringefestival.org.

    Logos & Images

    Official Fringe logos

  • Fringe logos in a variety of styles
  • Photography

  • For access to high resolution versions of 2016 promotional show images, please email Ann Erickson at ann@fringefestival.org
  • Images from previous festivals
  • Fringe news and updates
    Press accreditation

    2016 Minnesota Fringe Press Accreditation

    Contact Information

    Publication Information

    2016 Coverage

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