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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Alexander Gerchak

Years attending Fringe: 2-4 years
21-24 years old
Lives in... Saint Paul
Favorite genre: Musical Theater


Alexander Gerchak's reviews

BOOMBOX.
Filled With Wit and Heart

With an absurdly dope boombox serving as her anchor, Hannah Starr delivers a excellent performance. Equal parts sketch, musical, and one soul show, Starr's exploration of the world is defined by her particular comedic wit. Perhaps more notable is the personal element that lies just beneath, giving us a glimpse into the heart and experience that drives the material. It's also really funny. So go see it.

Mnemosyne
Daring, Original Dystopia

Mnemosyne stands as prime example of what the best of a Fringe production should be; creative, challenging, and entirely different from what we as an audience are accustomed to. The collaborative writing team behind Mnemosyne has delivered a hypothetical that is distressingly existential, a dystopian future where our memories, the very thing that constitutes our sense of self, can be commodified. Elegant costume design readily sets the necessary tone, and clever use of The Southern's space makes for strong staging. I personally preferred the vignette structure of the show's first half to the latter which meshed the stories into one thread, this however wasn't detrimental to the plot. See this show, and enjoy new theatre done right.

Frankenstein
Bold Abstraction

In this production of Frankenstein we see what Fringe should truly aspire to be; creatives taking genuine risks and creating material that pushes our boundaries and expectations. Here we have an interpretation that is far less reliant on plot, opting to explore themes of isolation, paranoia, and zeal with the source material. As a byproduct of this emphasis, more traditional scenes tend to feel weak in comparison to movement sequences that are arguably the heart of the show. Worth seeing for a notably different take on the well known story.

DUNGEON
Technical Triumph

This production may have some of the finest technical elements and the most cohesive visual design I've seen at the MN Fringe Festival. Exceptional use of lighting, puppetry, and shadow puppetry in particular made for an arresting experience. Smart choices in characterization invests the audience in the show's affable, determined protagonist. Pacing could be tightened in certain segments, certain purposeful retreads in location and effects not feeling as motivated as they could be (yet this production's use of setting is at times exceptional).

En Passant
Needs Further Development

At its core, En Passant is a character study that aspires to delve into the familial conflict that challenges its two leads. As currently written its success is limited, the script leaving little room for proper character development. The cast does very well with the material given, taking care to provide the emotional weight necessary for the roles. Certain technical elements (such as long transitions) felt rough, yet the overall design was impressively ambitious for a fringe production. The dedication to the story is clear, given more time this show can grow into a strong drama.


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