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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Nanette Stearns

Years attending Fringe: 5-9 years
55-64 years old
Lives in... Saint Paul
Favorite genre: Drama

Nanette Stearns' reviews

Excellent family drama

What happens when a family patriarch dies and all the anger, pain, past grievances come out? Spend an hour with Underdog Theatre and you'll have a definite idea. Three generations of a family deal with a father and grandfather's death in painful (and sometimes funny) ways. Outstanding performers all around! Congratulations on bringing such a painful yet energizing story to our stage!

Couple Fight 3: Weddings!
Third time's a charm!

I've seen all three versions of this concept and am hard-pressed to say which is the best. Or even to say which is the best "fight" in this particular show. All the performers added to the hilarity and even the "please rise" "please be seated" (not exactly audience participation) made this show even funnier. If I had to pick one couple, I'd say Shannen and Eric with their dream of a peaceful wedding by a lake that ended up being anything but peaceful. Glad I saw this and look forward to Round Four!

On The Exhale
Not what I expected

Based on the preview, I expected the story to go in one (painful) direction and it did, but then it turned a corner and became even more painful and excruciating. Jane Froiland is an excellent actor and I've been lucky enough to see her in a few local productions (Marie Antoinette, The Norwegians). In this she captivates the audience for 50 minutes telling a story that brings these painful images alive. While gun violence plays a major part in the story, we're also faced with painful decisions and actions that do what the best theater does: makes us think.

The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Spiritualism: real or imagined?

I had some familiarity with the Fox sisters and the early Spiritualist movement so knew a bit of what I was getting into. The staging and costuming was amazing and I found myself moved in ways I didn't expect. Were the sisters really able to communicate with the dead? Or were they making it all up? Or were they making part of it up? You may not have a clear answer at the end but you'll be engaged and entertained with this beautiful production!

Debacle: Stories of Life's Ultimate Fiascos!
Apparently Jason has cat sat for me.

This show was highly entertaining. Each of the six stories were unique and entertaining. Because each story revolved around a theme (pets, lady bits, heartbreak/love) we got to see stories that were related but different enough that they never blended together. I especially enjoyed Jason's story about cat sitting for a friend. Apparently there is more than one demon cat with multiple personalities in the area (the other being mine). The music added another element that made this show engaging and a lot of fun.

Sevlin & Devlin Presents: Seven Evans in Heaven
A known quantity with great performers

The performers are well known to Fringe goers and attendees at other Twin Cities productions but come together blending their unique talents in a great and funny show. Get reservations! This one will probably sell out every performance. Blending music, sight gags, dark humor and physical comedy, Seven Evans tells the stories of sisters (both named Evan) who die and are spit between heaven and hell. Chaos and humor ensue! Catch this one if at all possible.

The Pursuit of Awesome
You can't buy awesome at K-Mart

I really appreciated his sense of humor, juggling, touching stories of his wife pranking him, and wise words about what is (and isn't) awesome. David has a dry sense of humor and a self-deprecating style. I also loved the pictures of his child with all the tools of David's trade ( balloon animals, juggling balls, etc.). Perhaps his sense of humor isn't for everyone but I loved it and was very glad I saw it.

A beautiful and diverse production

The several group and individual dances made this a varied and engaging performance. Tap, classical ballet, jazz, modern dance were all included in this hour-long production. I could watch the performance of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah over and over. The joy of the tap performances brought a smile to my face. This was my first dance performance for the 2017 Fringe and while it won't be the last, it will be the most memorable.

It's About Love Again This Year
Sorry you won't have a chance to see it!

RE/Dance visited the Twin Cities Fringe Festival from Chicago again this year and provided a fun and interesting evening of dance around the themes of love (lost/found/discovered). Since this was their last performance, I'll just say I was glad I took the time to see it and I hope they are back again next year!

One Foot
High quality production

I had seen both performers previously so knew we were in for a high-quality and professional production. This short, sweet story of Finn and Dove has comedy, tragedy, great characters and wonderful action in its short timeframe (less than an hour). It was well-worth driving through the construction zones in Northeast Minneapolis so if you have a chance to see it, head on over to Strike. I look forward to see what's net for these performers and the production.

Surprisingly enjoyable

I was surprised I liked this show as much as I did. Violence, knives, self defense don't seem like strong ingredients for a comedy show but this one worked surprisingly well. Some plot twists and turns (and the enjoyable action with his straight-man/woman/Assistant District Attorney) made this show extra fun. Yes, it's far-fetched, No, it's not realistic. But it is fun!

The Banana Wars
Enjoyable history lesson

I've enjoyed Derek's performances as part of Transatlantic Love Affair for years and it was fun to see him in a solo show. This little known piece of history revolving around US involvement in the Caribbean, Central and South America made for an entertaining history lesson and gave me a new appreciation of bananas. It's never dull (unlike a lot of history lessons) and gives us a better view of one of our favorite fruits.

A late addition - and a good one

I became aware this show at the out of town preview on Wednesday. Apparently Hannah was a late addition from the waiting list and had only three days to prepare. First of all, the show is selling out so if you want to go - reserve tickets. Next, her voice is amazing. There were times I wondered if that incredible music was really coming from her. So many highlights (especially the song, It's hard to be Vegan and Homeless [perhaps not the exact title but close]). The characters she creates are poignant and her energy is infectious. If I ever hear the term "crush it," I'll immediately think of her and this great show.

Spy in the House of Men: A One-Woman Show With Balls
A deeply personal story

Penny gifts us with a portion of her life - a story of her ongoing transformation from the boy/man whose body she was born into to the woman she is today. Her story unfolds gently without judgement (of herself or others) and her vignette about the halloween party was especially engaging. I also appreciated her story of her interactions with her daughter and other children as she shifted from being their father to someone else. No this isn't a professional performance but it is a heartwarming, intimate and poignant presentation of a life.

His Name Doesn't Matter
fun stories and great chemistry

Amie and Spencer tell parts of their lives to the audience and gradually draw us into their sometimes bizarre experiences (did they really both date the same "straight boy?"). I especially liked the stories about the cat. This was a last minute addition to our schedule and I'm very glad we went!

Dance Cards

Audience members are asked to contribute answers to brief questions provided on cards - one is demographic information (yes, most of the audience is from Minneapolis), one is on issues related to privacy, online personas, etc. The answers are then incorporated into the performance by this multi-member group. Interesting interpretations of the music included made this an enjoyable show.

Definitely relatable if...

The first thing I noticed was that there were few (if any) people in the audience under 40 or 50. The 60s were part of my childhood and I knew enough about what was happening to relate to this show and the performers. The mix of music/song/stories were important and thought-provoking. Hopefully the show will draw a younger audience who can see how these issues continue to be brought to life today.

Intermediate Physical Comedy for Advanced Beginners
Great fun for all ages!

This was my first show of the 2017 Fringe and a great way to start. Physical comedy which looks painful but (hopefully) isn't. Listening to the responses from the children in the audience made this extra entertaining. Music plus physical comedy equals laugh out loud funny!

Pope Joan
A little known piece of religious histor

Pope Joan/John led the early Catholic church but was basically deleted from the records. Male? Female? Trans? Does it really matter? S/he was a strong, faithful, and compassionate leader despite the big "Secret." Learning about this peace of history in an entertaining and fascinating way made me want to go further with the topic. Great job to the cast and crew!

Poignant and touching

The joys and challenges of being both a POC and a member of the Jewish community was fascinating. The addition of movement, dance, and music brought the show to life in fascinating ways. Apparently the concept of being both Jewish and a POC is beyond some folks which makes this show even more necessary. I am neither but really enjoyed this three-person show.

A Message Show

I found the show to be overly repetitive and didactic. The message was good and the story engaging ... for about half an hour. Then it became the same story with the same arguments over and over. Motivations are revealed, characters choose sides, and then switch. Theater as political statement is a great medium but this just went on too long.

Duality: Expression/Reflection
Clearly a talented group

Body Group has a lot of potential and great choreography. I wasn't always sure what was going on and sometimes missed a clear sense of narrative but did appreciate the effort. It think with development this group can become an important part of our local dance scene.

Gravitational Collapse
I wanted to like this one

But I really didn't. It seemed to have an engaging and well-structured science fiction story of five women stranded on a space ship. But I just couldn't get into it. I enjoyed Dameun Strange's music and I think there is a good story in here somewhere. I just couldn't find it. So I think this may not be the right story for me. The rest of the audience enjoyed it so I would recommend it to folks interested in science fiction and space travel.

A Bollywood Twistery
Great dancing, little story

The Bollywood shows have become a mainstay of the Fringe. This year's staging is by Harmonious Music - a new group (the Bollywood Dance Scene group of years past is included a Patrick's Cabaret production at Intermedia this year). As usual, the dancing is the standout. The story is a minor element and not tied as well to the dancing as it might be. It's a fun show and the creative dancing makes it enjoyable.

Buffy the Bedbug Slayer
A spot-on parody of a beloved show

I'm a big Buffy fan so really appreciated this . The performers playing Buffy and Spike were perfect and the rest of the cast did an adorable job too. It wasn't as polished as it could be and did lag a bit in places but seeing a Buffy/Trump fight to the death was worth the price of admission.

Nanette Stearns' Queue

Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL