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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Kara Garbe Balcerzak

Years attending Fringe: 10 years or more
years old
Lives in... Saint Paul
Favorite genre: Drama

Kara Garbe Balcerzak's reviews

On The Exhale
The mysterious ways we deal with grief

Jane Froiland is stellar in this one-woman show. The writing is tight and at times lyrical. Despite a tragic subject matter, the storyline advanced at a pace that kept me riveted and left me contemplating the surprising and mysterious ways we deal with unbearable grief.

FUNKiN' Good Time
50 minutes of joy, talent, & energy!

This show is a must-see! I'm not a dancer or even typically a fan of dance shows, but this was high energy and incredibly fun. I grinned and cheered throughout the whole show. These people are seriously talented! It was especially awesome to see a dance show with such a diverse group of people: diverse genders, races, ethnicities, and body types. I really appreciated that the female bodies on the stage weren't sexualized; everyone wore the same outfits, so the focus was on the amazing talent of each person. Go see this fantastic show!

The Last Bombardment
Creative and thought-provoking!

In the 2 hours since I walked out of the show, I've continued to think about it and have liked it more and more. It poses an interesting philosophical question that is creative and thought-provoking. The cast is really talented at bringing to life multiple characters and using mime and gestures to bring the world to life. Check it out!

Beautiful and mesmerizing!

I don't usually see a lot of dance, but that is going to change after this show! It was high-energy, beautiful, and thought-provoking. The dancers infused data and secrets from the audience into the show, giving added layers of meaning to their movements. The music was also fantastic, bringing a lot of energy and emotion to the show. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in a beautiful and intelligent experience at the Fringe, regardless of whether you usually see dance or not.

Themselves They Made Immaculate: Clara Barton at Andersonville
Powerful and relevant

This powerful show illuminates mistreatment of Union prisoners in a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War, as well as the condition and continuing oppression of freed slaves immediately following the war. The actors did a great job bringing to life the powerful testimony of Clara Barton before Congress. This is an important piece of history, very well staged.

The Banana Wars
Historical and personal storytelling

Derek Lee Miller is a tremendously talented actor and writer. This show was fascinating and often funny. However, it felt like 2 hours of material was packed into 1 hour. The show includes some historical information and some personal storytelling, but not enough of either to leave me truly satisfied, and the different threads weren't tied together strongly enough. I'd love to see this remounted as a full-length play (maybe even with a small cast?). Despite that, I'd recommend seeing this ambitious show from a very talented artist!

The Buttslasher
Ridiculous fun!

The Buttslasher is ridiculous in the best way! A campy homage to the noir crime genre. The writing was clever, the acting spot-on. Lots of puns and butt jokes that got better as they got worse. This show is a great counterpoint to more serious Fringe fare.

Humble Cup