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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Penny Sterling

Years attending Fringe: 2-4 years
55-64 years old
Lives in... Out-of-state
Favorite genre: Comedy

Penny Sterling's reviews

The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Timeless Tale of Love, Life & Death

A beautiful, elegant, and economical telling of the story of the Fox Sisters--communicators with the dead, or opportunists who let a childhood game get out of hand, or maybe both. It's a rich, layered story, and it's handled deftly and knowingly, directed by the Medium who glides effortlessly through the space and time of the tale--even as the characters portrayed have difficulty reliving it. It's that delicious drifting across the line of life and death that made the Fox Sisters so compelling, and that drift is handled brilliantly by this group. Plus, it's staged with the precision of a music box in a way that's perfect for the in-the-round setting of the Rarig Center Arena!! Congratulations to all involved!

Dancing with the Enemy (and Other Celebrations of Life)
A Celebration of Joyful Resistance!

We have met the 'enemy' and discovered that their weakness is joy. This is a series of dances that encourage us to laugh, and cry, and celebrate ourselves and our lives, even in times of struggle. The dances ran the gamut of the human condition, from sorrow to ribald hilarity, and everything in between. The addition of guest dancers from other cultures was a brilliant thought. I found myself clapping and whooping along with the music and the dance. Brava!

Bear Eats Bear
This is Fringe

This is a piece of art that will work for you only as much as you let it. It requires your imagination. The more you can imagine what the writer of the piece wants you to, the deeper you are immersed into it. There's no actors, no 'performance.' Only you, and the echoes of people who were doing their best to survive and make feeble attempts to hold on to bits of society in a post-apocolyptic world. I can't say that I 'liked' it, but I don't think that we are supposed to 'like' it. It will haunt you, and perhaps make you appreciate the world a little bit more, and maybe move you to awareness of how fragile it is. And isn't that what art should do? Also: bring bug repellant, or you'll have more than emotional reminders of the event.

More than silly fun!

This was a show that took a caricature and over the course of an hour, revealed that he was, in fact a fully-realized character with a very definite moral compass. Fun, funny and even a bit provocative!

Penny Sterling's Queue

Ghoulish Delights