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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Dave Stagner

Years attending Fringe: 10 years or more
45-54 years old
Lives in... Minneapolis
Favorite genre: Something Different

Dave Stagner's reviews

A Pickle
You can't not like Doris!

A good solo show should have a strong performance, an interesting subject, a sense of flow, and a sense of learning for the audience. This does it all. Angela Timberman's performance is nearly flawless, completely inhabiting the character. The story is a thought-provoking examination of prejudice, wrapped in some serious comedy. You can't not like Doris! This first performance looked like a sellout or very close to it, so you might want to reserve tickets.

the biggest spectacle you'll see

The first standing ovation I've seen at Fringe so far, and well deserved. The site-specific nature allows them to do fire, an elaborate light show, and complex stage architecture that would be otherwise impossible. But that wouldn't matter without a great story, great performance, and great music. Medusa delivers all three. Incredible show! Also, it only ran 45 minutes, so you should have time to get from there to Ritz, Strike, or West Bank afterward.

science fiction meets modern dance

When I found out that some of the team from The Final Tubby Bye-Bye (Fringe 2016) were back, this became a must-see - Tubby was absolutely my favorite show last year. I appreciate the daring new direction in this one - sort of dystopian philosophical science fiction, expressed in a modern dance context. I appreciated the performances (especially Hillary Olson, who captured my imagination in Tubby last year too), the writing, the direction, and the costuming. Excellent use was made of the beautiful Southern stage. My only gripes are that I wish the lighting was a bit brighter, and the slowish pacing combined with recursive/self-referential ideas made the story a bit hard to follow at times. But those are minor concerns. Outstanding.

Mayor Lear of Townsville
My favorite show this year!

Y'know how male actors, when they hit a certain level, become the guys who can do King Lear? Natalie Rae Wass did it, too. And played an evil monkey, to boot. The entire all-female cast looked to be having the time of their lives, mashing up a favorite cartoon with the stuffiest of Shakespeare. Bubbles in her double role was heartwarming and heroic. Buttercup and Blossom were just what I imagine they might be, if they were put in charge of Townsville. The rest of the cast was having as much fun as they were. The fight choreography was AWESOME and cartoony. The animation! What a delight. I just wish my daughter had been there with me.

Fruit Flies Like a Banana: WORLD TOUR
The curated Fringe experience

We had a guest from out of town for her first Fringe this weekend. I made this show a must-see for her - to me, this is just about the best kind of show the Fringe has to offer. Our friend was spellbound. Nobody makes "serious" and "modern classical music" as accessible and fun as Fruit Flies Like a Banana. This is a show EVERYONE will love!

The right kind of pretentious

This show is very, very theatrical. The sort of faux-Greek poetic language and costuming, the sound design, the mythic structures... it's about magic and theater and classical mythology, with anything modern or humanist almost dehydrated away. That said, it creates its intended atmosphere quite well, especially within the limitations of a Fringe show and the simple Strike stage. The choreography was especially good, although I often wished for a raised stage. The words painted an effective picture of transgender experience as mythic structure. The personal monologues by Jena Young and Christy Marie Kent rehumanized what could have been too cold and abstract. They ached with sincerity. Fine work by all involved!

Blackout Improv
improv with a difference

Besides being a black-cast show in Fringe's sea of whiteness, they do their improv with an interesting setup. Topics are drawn from a hat, and then they discuss the topic seriously for a while before improvising. For a group trying to do socially conscious improv, it's a really good structure. The improv itself is hit or miss, as improv often is. But two things stood out for me. First, Duck Washington, one of the quickest wits in the Twin Cities comedy scene, sometimes jumped in to save a faltering flow. It's not just that he's funny - it's smart and pointed. The other thing I loved was Khary Jackson's music in the background of the improv. Really interesting and effective!

Your Motivational Power Hour!
different motivations

Twisted takes on the idea of motivational speaking. It's well targeted - taking standards like Who Moved My Cheese and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and explaining them in wonderfully twisted ways. It also targets the creepiness of the motivational speaking industry itself, and some historic motivational speech. But at times, it felt flat or dragged. I don't know what could fight that... tighter direction, or some more connection. Individual pieces seemed fine and it's coherent, but something... hmm. Still, it's a fine way to spend an hour getting cynically uplifted!

Flyer Guy
Get your photo with him for five bucks!

If you're in Uptown and have an hour to spend, this is a pretty good way to spend it. David Lawson is a confident and fairly polished performer, telling us stories of various freaky people he encountered during his years working on Times Square. It's lighthearted absurdist fun. Like Times Square itself, it feels a little Disneyfied and not dangerous. That's okay. He's not baring his heart or telling you (very) horrible things. We don't always need that from solo performers! Go, and be entertained.

Red Stag Supperclub