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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Brian Isles' reviews

Songs of MN Summer
A great way to start Fringe!

The performers came ready to play and improvise with each other. They fed off the audience and seemed to enjoy every second of their time. They started with a suggestion at the top (as is common with long-form improv), and they incorporated the small suggestion in hilarious and clever ways. I was particularly impressed with the callbacks throughout the performance. I will absolutely come back to see what these brilliant women (and a supremely talented pianist) can create. It's ephemeral and a highlight of the festival!

DUNGEON
A Singular Experience

I was intrigued with the title and the synopsis of the show, but I was not ready to be utterly drawn into this deep, beautiful production. From the awe-inspiring opening moments to the effective ending, a Fringe show has never drawn me in so deeply. My friends agreed that this show would have been worth the $22 admission fee on its own. When you add in the gorgeous Jungle Theater, this is a singularly memorable Fringe experience that I will not stop thinking about any time soon. Try to avoid reading up on this show too much before experiencing it. You should also know that this show essentially sold three more wristbands for next Saturday; I've got to see this show once more while it's here! This is a MUST SEE!

Slaughterhouse Five: A Musical
An Ambitious Endeavor

I should preface this by saying that I adore Kurt Vonnegut, but I'll also mention that I don't think knowledge of the book is a prerequisite for appreciating this show. The show requires constant attention from the audience, and the structure is deliberately strange; that being said, it's not impossible to follow if you look at the notes in the program. The cast does a tremendous job bringing life to Vonnegut's text, and the music is lively. The themes of the show can be a bit repetitive at times, but it's done deliberately to show the framing structure of the show. I admire the hell out of the cast members, orchestra, crew, writer, and director for their ambition, and it was one of the best things I've seen at Fringe!

The Pursuit of Awesome
A Fun Journey!

If you're bringing children to the Festival, this is a must see through and through. It's a fun, brisk performance of a man that completely understands how to control a crowd. He had us laughing throughout the show, and I walked away thinking "that's one of the most charming productions I've seen at Fringe." It doesn't have the most substance of a Fringe show, but it does have one of the most important themes: "let your freak flag fly." He encourages his audience to embrace the things that aren't practical, and he promotes the idea of doing things that we're passionate about. As an educator, I can't stress the importance of this message, and I'd happily recommend this show to any of my students!

Themselves They Made Immaculate: Clara Barton at Andersonville
Important...but not compelling

This story is something that is deeply relevant to our society today, and it's something that should be taught in our schools with more focus and accuracy. The production is essentially three people reading off of a script that's on a music stand; this is not an interesting approach. The performance from the lead is gorgeous and incredibly emotional, but it can be a bit unbalanced at times. Additionally, the lack of interesting stage pictures or variation in blocking makes the production a bit tedious at times. This is not a knock on the cast members, but I'd be interested in seeing this production with a different director at the helm. This is a show that provoked a nice conversation with my friends, but it was certainly a short one.


Cedar Printing