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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Reid Gagle's reviews

Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL
The Upside of the Upside Down

Tom Reed made his mark with Fringe spoofs of Harry Potter and the Twilight series. Now he does it again with this fun pastiche of the TV show 'Stranger Things'. Never seen the show? Neither had I -- hadn't even heard of it -- but Tom covers all of the basics, so I rarely felt like I was missing a joke. This show is a ton of fun. Don't miss it.

The Best of All Possible Worlds
The Mann in the Grey Flannel Suit

David here relates the story of how he went corporate. Inevitably, the up front rewards seem increasingly hollow and the hidden costs eventually turn out to be immense. He also provides a very spot-on dissection and critique of motivational speakers. It is a very skillfully done show but one of our best local monologists. Welcome back, David.

Much Ado About Nothing (as told by Dogberry and Verges)
Can't I Give It Six Stars?

A marvelous version of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Brilliant adaptation, sharp direction, excellent acting.... I loved it. I'd single out a performance for praise, but which one? They were all superb.

The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Extended Life

This is one of those rare Fringe shows that has what it takes to live on after the Fringe. I hope that it does get a remount somewhere. This is the haunting tale of the true-life Fox sisters who created the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century. Spiritualism took on a life of its own and became a religious movement of sorts (one of the few created by and dominated by women). But the focus here is on the sisters, how a game between young sisters grew and mutated and basically took over their lives. And how their love for each other remained constant. It's an excellent show. Even before the Fringe, I thought the title of this show was the best in this year's Fringe. It's nice that the show itself was equally well written.

The Pursuit of Awesome
Now For Something Completely Different

I don't usually write reviews this late in the Fringe unless I have something different to say. But for this quirky wonder, I'll just chime in agree with everyone that this is a charming, funny, and unusual show. Not only does he do difficult oddball stunts, he is self-aware and funny about how obsessed you have be to get good at such stunts. (In one past show, he displayed his virtuosity with yo-yos and in another he demonstrated the bizarre things he can do with sheets of paper and with a hand truck.) This show is unique and...awesome.

Debacle: Stories of Life's Ultimate Fiascos!

This show consists of three pairs of thematically linked stories, each introduced by a relevant song by Katy Vernon. For me, both the draw and the high point were the stories of one-time Rockstar Storyteller Alison Broeren. But Jason Schommer's stories were also amusing, and the pretty songs were a lively way to introduce each of the three themes. -------- 5 Stars = Must See! 4 Stars = Worth Seeing. 3 Stars = Worth Considering. 2 Stars = Maybe, if you're in the venue and have time to kill. 1 Star = No, unless your kid is in the show. 0 Star = Avoid even if your kid is in the show.

One Foot
What's Next, One Eye?

A few Fringes ago, we had the excellent 'One Arm'. Now (from a different company and playwright) we get the excellent 'One Foot', the bittersweet story of the course of a pioneer marriage between a widower and a woman left on the shelf because of a slight physical deformity. It is well worth seeing.

Hello, I Must Be Going...
I'm Just Mad About Ari

Ari is a local treasure, and we get to see him too rarely. Him doing a role like the aged Groucho Marx is even more of a draw. It really worked well. The play itself is a bit of a downer, but it does reveal some poignant history that I hadn't known about. Also, the transition from our initially liking Erin and sympathizing with her, to the opposite was too abrupt. Still, it's a good show, well worth seeing. By the way, I'm also looking forward to seeing the Fringe show whose title comes from a Groucho quote, "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

Full Metal Rabbit
Good Energy Is Contagious

I enjoyed this show a lot more than I think I should have. It's the actors' fault. They made me like it against my will. My superego was stuffily protesting "This has nothing to do with Full Metal Jacket at all", "In Watership Down, they weren't on a mission beyond mere survival", and "What is with that accent?", my id was saying "chill out and enjoy". My id won. This is just good silly fun. And the rocking 1980s soundtrack didn't hurt a bit.

The Fainting Room
A Womb with a View

This engaging performer does five characters in this story about a modern woman's reaction to 19th century gynecology. Or maybe it's another vibrator play. Either way, it's a lot of fun, with some no-pressure audience interaction. Even the costume changes were fun.

The Banana Wars
The Banana Wars

Derek's show is bursting with information: the history of the banana, the fascinating Smedley Darlington Butler, the repeated US interventions in Central America, and even some personal stories about Derek himself. Occasionally the transitions between the pieces are a little forced, but Derek's energy and breakneck pace obviate that minor flaw. And don't worry, the history is never dry or boring. Nor is it distant; Derek hints at the ways that this history is still relevant to events today.

Queen of Delicious Animals
Who Ate Roger Rabbit?

Rachel relates her adolescent adventures at county (and state and national) as a small animal exhibitor and a large animal breeder / exhibitor. It's an interesting peak into an unfamiliar American subculture. And wouldn't this be a great setting for a mystery novel? (There's your next project, Rachel.)

Dungeon Was Draggin'

This show is full of -- nay, consists of -- very creative and fun approaches to simple but effective visual effects in the theater. But that was all there was, and it began to feel repetitive after a while. If this were done as part of a stronger story with actual characters, it would make for a really great show.

Spy in the House of Men: A One-Woman Show With Balls
Promising But Needs Polish

A solid, if uninspired, outing in the perennial storytelling genre of coming to terms with who you really are. There were certainly enough funny insights and poignant moments to make the show worthwhile, but both the writing and the delivery need more polish. I wish the rest of the show was as well written as the title of the show. -------- 5 Stars = Must See! 4 Stars = Worth Seeing. 3 Stars = Worth Considering. 2 Stars = Maybe, if you're in the venue and have time to kill. 1 Star = No, unless your kid is in the show. 0 Star = Avoid even if your kid is in the show.

Two Bettys