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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Diane Hellekson

Years attending Fringe: 2-4 years
55-64 years old
Lives in... Saint Paul
Favorite genre: Something Different

Diane Hellekson's reviews

Code: L-O-V-E
Sweet and Solid

While the preview had me expecting something more comedic, this sweet and solid drama kept me engaged. Lovely acting, nifty costumes and a smooth script allowed me to forget the fact that the set constituted nothing but a desk, chair and doorway, and to forgive some jarringly campy moments (mostly the double-agent). Even a highly critical 15-year-old enjoyed it!

Death in Yosemite: A comedic adaptation of the Non-Fiction Book
Thank you, Mr. Ranger

The seen-it-all Park Ranger is the perfect guide for tales of death by idiocy and a critical anchor in this wacky rush of a show. The first 20 minutes or so are pure kick and LOL funny but after a while, I was disappointed to realize that the rest of the show was the same basic joke, repeated with variations. Still an amusing diversion and, gosh, Edwin Strout is good!

The Buttslasher
Campy fun

Two adults and one 15-year-old dug both the acting and pacing in this witty, silly romp. We didn't even mind the puns (given the crime, what comedy writer could resist?). The detective in charge is an absurd throwback in appearance and language, with only his preferred drink (which I must resist revealing) placing him in 2017. Other characters occupy a range of positions on the contemporary-to-noir spectrum: His barkeep amour, for example, is thoroughly modern in appearance (and refreshingly atypical for a straight romantic lead), but she's happy to engage in old school banter. The show moved right along, up to a surprising, ridiculous ending. We were amused and impressed that the playwright had a bravely revealing cameo.

A for actor...

... and B- for writer (both are the charming J. M. Motz). When playing the absurd knife-fightin' guru in a self-defense "video," Motz is hilarious. But it all gets a bit thin in the courtroom scenes, when the parody becomes a message piece about "stand your ground" legislation. The asst. district attorney's joke that referring to her notes might sound like reading from a script is a nice cheat for the actor (a different one is in the ADA role for each Fringe performance). The moment when Motz doffs his bandana/ponytail, breaking character to address the other actor, however, is just odd.

Mayor Lear of Townsville

The preview was so promising (especially the helium-voiced hilarity of "Bubbles") and the premise clever (grown-up Powderpuff Girls as King, er, Mayor Lear's daughters). The all-woman cast was pretty great (I'll watch for "Bubbles" on future shows) and the projected sets marvelous. However... Maybe the script wouldn't seem so forced for those really into the original Shakespeare. For this philistine, however, it lacked enough honest laughs to reach recommendable.

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