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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Sue Searing's reviews

Honest and thought-provoking

As a baby boomer myself, I used to think that all the best stories of the tumultuous 'sixties must have already been told, but these three master storytellers changed my mind. They look back on gut-wrenching personal encounters with racism, violence, injustice, and love, but the emotions they evoke are universal. The brief musical moments not only help bridge the narratives but enrich and deepen the mood. Because storytelling is organic and alive, this show is only going to get better with each performance.

Live From New York, He's A Prom Date!
Incredible performer, hilarious and true

Jen Maren is an amazing actor! Teen angst is a time-worn theme, but the particulars of her and her mom's experience kept me in stitches. If you love fast-paced comedy, this is a must-see.

The Masque of Power
Well crafted piece, expertly acted

This is a complex, sometimes dizzying exploration of the nature of power in politics and relationships. The father-son dynamics and the clever (sometimes downright hilarious) ways the playwright-actors play with the fluid boundary between art and "real" life left me with lots to think about. And these guys can really act! Intellectually and emotionally satisfying. See it!

Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire
Personal storytelling at its finest

Ada Cheng tells several stories of her experiences as an immigrant and naturalized US citizen, powerfully conveying the emotional pain of always being "the other," but leavened with just enough comic moments that we stay utterly engaged. There's nothing as effective as a real person's honest sharing to shine a light on the true meaning and import of "intersectionality." Cheng delivers a brave and intelligent performance that I'll be thinking about for a long time.

Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant: A New Musical
21st century Gilbert and Sullivan

The laughs kept coming in this hilarious comic operetta. The plot premise is silly and the characters are exaggerated, but that's just how it should be -- a supremely entertaining musical farce. The lyrics are incredibly witty, and the actors are masters of physical humor, especially Ryan London Levin.

It Can't Happen Here

I was surprised to feel tears welling up in my eyes at the end of this play. I've heard quite a few allusions to contemporary politics and government already at the Fringe--some overt, some subtle; some played for laughs and some deadly serious--but none of it hit me like this period dystopian drama. The main characters are portrayed by very strong actors, and the action moves along quickly, building to a climax that had me on the edge of my seat. Bonus: a free booklet with the US and Minnesota constitutions,courtesy of the ACLU.

Clutter, Chaos, Creativity and the Collyer Brothers
Yes to the mess!

That's the slogan Judith Heineman had the audience shouting during her entertaining show, which uses humor to plumb the history and psychology of the neatnik-to-hoarder spectrum. She joined a few compelling and well crafted longer stories together with miscellaneous facts and observations about messiness and clutter. The overall structure of the piece felt a bit disorganized, which might have been intentional (the medium is the message!), and some of the props were hard to see, but it was an unalloyed joy to watch her ring so many changes on a theme that everyone can relate to.

An old fairy tale made new

Although there's a plethora of feminist retellings of Cinderella, this play manages to present some new twists that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. Harking back to the darker, pre-Disney versions, Skins traces a tale of self-discovery and self-respect that resonates in our own time. The staging and costuming is creative; the geese steal the show! However, the lecture scene that introduces the play strains to be funny and isn't necessary.

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