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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Press Kit

Fringe essentials
  1. Name: Minnesota Fringe Festival. Fringe or Minnesota Fringe in reference to the organization.
  2. 2018 Festival Dates: Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 12, 2018
  3. Place: Various stages in Minneapolis
  4. Shows: TBD. 2017 hosted 167 different productions.
  5. Running time: All shows run 60 minutes or less.
  6. Tickets: 2018 ticketing policy is still being developed. In 2017, weekday passes cost $16, granting access to up to four shows. Weekend passes cost $22, granting access to up to seven shows. Passes and reservations will go on sale around July 1 digitally, and at all box offices 30 minutes before the start of a performance.
  7. Website: fringefestival.org
  8. Anniversary: 2018 is Fringe's 25th year connecting adventurous artists with adventurous audiences
  9. About us: Minnesota Fringe produces our annual Fringe Festival for the performing arts in the Twin Cities. For 11 days, over a thousand artists present works in every discipline and genre. Minnesota Fringe uses a lottery-driven system to determine which of over 400 applicants win production slots in the Festival.
  10. Press contact: Dawn Bentley, Executive Director
Why cover the Fringe?

Theater like none other

From our selection process (shows are selected by lottery) 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.

Artists and audiences are encouraged to take risks at Fringe. With our innovative day pass system, patrons can afford to gamble on something they've never heard of or stumble upon a hidden gem.

We believe in the creative process of every producer, regardless of where they fall on the artistic spectrum. We aim to shatter the barriers to theatrical entry by ensuring all artists are providing the opportunity to stage a show. Regardless of pedigree, each producer is given an equitable performance schedule in a reputable theater with professional technicians and front-of-house staff. We provide an economic engine for those artists by guaranteeing a 70% return of box office receipts. In addition, we provide producers at all levels with support on the business side 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, including:

  • Short, 210-character show descriptions, any content warnings, 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. 2017 marked the 70th Anniversary of Creative Freedom celebrated during World Fringe Day on July 11, 2017.

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.

Fringe by numbers

Number of shows

  • 2017......167
  • 2016......168
  • 2015......174
  • 2014......169
  • 2013......177
  • 2012......165
  • 2011......168
  • 2010......169
  • 2009......162

Number of performances

  • 2017......850
  • 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

  • 2016......$327,508
  • 2015......$411,714
  • 2014......$380,880
  • 2013......$365,101
  • 2012......$342,637
  • 2011......$362,599
  • 2010......$369,201
  • 2009......$325,463

Total artist payout

  • 2016......$232,620
  • 2015......$285,770
  • 2014......$258,738
  • 2013......$245,223
  • 2012......$230,997
  • 2011......$243,792
  • 2010......$249,116
  • 2009......$215,600

Top ticket price

  • 2017......$22
  • 2016......$22 (switch to day passes vs. single tickets)
  • 2015......$14
  • 2014......$12
  • 2013......$12
  • 2012......$12
  • 2011......$12
  • 2010......$12
  • 2009......$12
2017 Fringe calendar

Show information and contacts for the 2017 Minnesota Fringe available to press; email Executive Director Dawn Bentley for more information.

Saturday, July 1: Website launched

Full festival schedule, passes and reservation sales available at fringefestival.org.

Monday, July 17: Fringe Previews #1

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

Monday, July 24: Fringe Previews #2

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

Wednesday, August 2: Touring Artist Showcase

Previews from shows by artists from greater Minnesota and across the country at Mixed Blood Theater.

Thursday, August 3: Opening Night

The first day of the 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival. Shows begin at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, August 7: Opening weekend numbers announced

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

Saturday, August 12: Fringe Encore announced

The festival's final performance slot - Sunday, Aug. 13 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 13: Closing Night Party

A final farewell to the 2017 festival

Monday, August 14: 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 dawn@fringefestival.org.

Logos & Images

Official Fringe logos


Press accreditation

2017 Minnesota Fringe Press Accreditation

Contact Information

Publication Information

2017 Coverage

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