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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Showtimes

Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With 850 performances of 167 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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. 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.

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Choosing a Show

With 850 performances of 167 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 go live mid-November on this website. 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.

Attend: Thanks to the new day pass system, attending Fringe is easier and cheaper than ever.

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!

Socialize: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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 + Token = Your Admission

Everyone needs a valid pass to see a show. In addition to your pass, you will receive a token at the venue which guarantees you a seat. Turn in your token to the usher when you enter the theater.

More information about passes and policies here.

Reservations

Optional reservations guarantee a seat for a particular performance and can be purchased online in advance. You must also have a valid to get in. Day passes can be bought online with a reservation to save time, and can be picked up at the venue box office 30 minutes before the performance.

More information about reservations here.

Rules

For everyone's safety, Fringe does not allow late seating or re-admission. Photos and video are prohibited without written permission from the production staff. Fringe cannot provide refunds or exchanges.

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Fringivitis Vulgaris' reviews

There Ain't No More!
Go for the music, stay for the stories

I was sucked in by the multi-instrumental talents of Willi Carlisle. This show is SO much bigger than that! There are layers of stories here, folded over themselves throughout contemporary and recent history. Our folkways might be fading, but we are still the folks and we still hang onto the old traditions because they nurture us. Oh, and did I mention he plays lots of instruments and does excellent physical acting?

ODD MAN OUT
Strong story, well acted

This very contemporary story with believable characters was beautifully acted. Every family has its complications and difficult characters, and this show turns the spotlight on the complicated relationships with the kin we love and the kin we tolerate. There is beauty even in moments of sadness, and these actors brought it all.

The Last Bombardment
Toddlers ARE terrifying germ-mongers

What a wonderful horror tale! The premise delights me, the execution was entertaining, and the ending made logical sense. (You might want to keep your crumb-snatchers away from me.) Very talky show, but the physical acting was spot on. This could be remounted for Horror Fest. I'll keep an eye out for whatever these folks create next.

Repertoire Dogs
Funny voices, geezer references

Who doesn't enjoy Grandpa humor? There are plenty of funny voices, and your grandparents will know most of the references. The improv cast seemed to have missed out on pop culture after about 1996. This was a good fill-in between other shows.

Facebook Lite
Solid Fringe fodder

This silliness is just what I anticipate from a Fringe Festival. First funny and then absurd, this show takes a near-real premise and runs with it. Plenty of chuckles and eye-roll moments, especially with the help of the refreshments on sale at the Huge bar.

First Year Queer
Confused, unpolished, not just a phase

I really wanted to like this show. I really wanted it to have a point. I left feeling that it is still in the workshop phase. The narrative is inconsistent. Starts like a therapy story, veers off into educational video, and careens into attempting bdsm basics. Never really solidified. The raffle prizes were nice though.

FOOL'S MEDICINE
When clowns talk, words matter

This performer is a speaking clown who relies on metaphors and florid language, so I was dismayed when he committed to a "light is good, dark is bad" theme. Probably a sign of the actor's age and/or era when he learned storytelling. Classic clown stuff was pretty good. The performer understands that part of the craft. Persuading the audience members to join the show went over well, and didn't rely on humiliation for humor.

The Migraine Room (Photophobia)
So much less than it could have been

The artist takes an interesting premise and a relatable story, and turns it into a disengaging and loooooonnggg rambling hour in the dark. Show started early and ran over the end time, which could have played into a more creative approach but merely left me feeling that the performer had no sense of his own show. Not sure about photophobia, but now I understand narcolepsy...


Joia Spirit