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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James Zappa's reviews

On The Exhale
Must see

Keeping an audience engaged for an hour monologue is a tall order, and the opening night audience hung on every word. The actress possessed the charisma that you empathized with her during her journey, even as she made daunting decisions. The right balance of humor, gravity, and humanity were found in a script that could have easily relied on sentimentality. Very well staged, with creative use of a bare set and slight lighting changes to set the tone and mood. I could not recommend this one more.

Mayor Lear of Townsville
Clever cartoon crossover

All I could think during the show is how much fun this show must have been putting together. Full of Shakespeare, powerpuff girl, and pop culture references all cleverly incorporated into a well directed and well performed show. What I loved most is how the show never took itself, and made fun of itself as much as anything else.

To The Quick: A trio of short plays that cut deep
All Three Plays Deliver

The title promises the three short plays will cut deep and all three live up to the promise. The scripts were cleverly crafted, giving us a chance to empathize with the characters before they really go at it. The blocking made good use of being in the round, and the directing elevated the already suburb script. Acting in the round is tough, and all five actors delivered strong performances and felt at home in the intimate setting. All three shows made the audience leave discussing the issues and situations addressed in the plays. All of the themes touched on are timeless and universal. I strongly recommend seeing this piece!

The Murmur of Murder
Silly fun show

This was a complete nonsensical, silly, random show and I loved every moment of it. Full of quick one liners and quirky monologues, the script gave the actors so much to play with and everyone looked like they were having a blast. Don't expect the most complex plot or characters, but the moments come fast so I didn't really mind. This was seriously one of the funniest shows I've seen this year!

The Simple Mind of Dillon Magee
Simple, yet well executed

While "Simple mind..." may not have had the most complex plot, it had three of the best written characters I've seen in a fringe show. The writer found significance in small moments, and those moments were well highlighted by director and actors. Projections through out the show helped tell the story, and the wonderful sound design kept me immersed in the story. All three actors found the subtleties in the their roles. Logan did a wonderful job in his silent title role, Kari beautifully captured the struggle of a mother trying to reach through to her son. Steve brought a lightness to the show that really highlighted the optimism I felt leaving the theater. All around well executed. I strongly recommend this simple, well done show.

Songs for a Post-Apocalyptic World
Fun commentary sometimes choppy

For how light this show was throughout, there was commentary hidden that kept this show intriguing. The premise was interesting, the disconnected story lines worked well to build the world. Some of the segments went on a little long, but the actors kept the energy going. The music was catchy and some of the songs were a lot of fun; especially the more satirical numbers. All of the actors were pretty good vocalists, the harmonies and balance among there voices were always spot on; but the soloists were once or twice pitchie and relied too much on belting for my taste. The transitions were rough; the band had to vamp through their music on most of the changes. The transitions into the songs were choppy, and slowed the scenes down.

The Tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Interesting take on Star Wars

This show was a fun, deconstruction of the original star wars trilogies, the re-enactment of movie scenes were fun, and never took themselves too seriously. However some of the jokes went on a little long. C-3PO and R2-D2 had the best scene in the show, and made better because you could tell how much fun the actresses were having. What caused the show to drag were the monologues explaining the characters path through the stories. Some were well done; the droids, Han and Chewie, and Leia really stood out. But the Emperor and Obi Wan's dragged and at times felt put in to pad the length, and relied on the audience knowing Star Wars as well as the creator of the show. A show for star wars fans for sure, but enough in there even if your not.

Playwrights on a Train
Promising script derailed

There was a lot of potential in the script, with some interesting moments. My issue is it could never really settle on being a parody, farce, thriller, or love letter to Hitchcock, so the story never felt to take off. The pacing a directing were slow and missed a lot of the humor, which could lead to the meandering style. There were a lot of meta-references to play writing that poked fun at some of the plot holes in the show, but they never really landed. Most of the actors were good. Anna and Scott stole the show, and I was much more interested following them than the two playwrights at the center of the show. There were some good moments in the show, but the slow paced and unfocused directing made the them few and far too long between

The Summoning
Did the best with what they had...

The actors did the best with what they were given, unfoetunately the script was a slow based, meandering confusion. There was a lot of world building needed to explain demons summoning a human, but what was written was vague at best. The humor was mostly fat shaming, which the script even acknowledged, and uninspired sex jokes. The show ended abruptly, and I thought there time had run out, which wasn't the case. The directing was mostly uninspired, and relied on the actors charisma to sell the premise. Most of the cast managed to find something. One of the demons, who had the burden of the bad jokes, managed to sell his character with perfect timing. The human and mother brought a level of charm and lightness to the show.

Blood Debt
No one specific reason this doesn't work

The script was vague and mechanical. Neither character gave us a reason to care about them despite the high stakes, and the Person relied on cryptic messages so we never really understood what she wanted. The theme kept repeating its self, after a while it becomes monotone hearing the same argument. the staging was awkward; at points both actors were upstaging themselves. The torture sequences were uncomfortable, but never fully convincing. The acting was unmotivated, and constantly 1 dimensional. Writing/Directing/Producing the first time is daunting, I know from experience. I give kudos for the attempt, but not enough focus can be given to any task to execute a show.


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