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 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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Ben Mendis' reviews

The Masque of Power
What fourth wall?

This show managed to strike a delicate balance of being goofy and serious, fictional and real, tongue-in-cheek and authentic. It's the most striking and well-acted play I've seen so far at Fringe, and I think it will be hard act to follow. This father/son duo is incredible. Both of them manage to bring real life into their characters as they switch seamlessly between the characters they portray, even down to the subtle mannerisms. It's hilarious it's honest, and they don't back away from being opinionated!

Knifeslingin'!
I'm sold! Where can I buy the videos?

The show was hilarious all the way through. Motz is a master of comedy and he cleverly skewers his targets in the best way possible. I think one sign of good art is when audience comes away with a new perspective. I'm definitely thinking and re-thinking about not just the jokes but also some of the more serious ideas in the piece. Definitely check this one out if you're looking for some excellent Fringe comedy.

Mnemosyne
Great, original sci-fi

I could say they borrowed concepts from a number of different sources, but the way those elements were mixed up and strung together produced a wholly original story. Great sci-fi gives us a peek into the future, and Mnemosyne does exactly that. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this, and each time I deconstruct it I discover new layers to consider. The story is complete and well written, but the acting is was really sells it with brilliant performances by the entire cast. I especially enjoyed the clever use of costumes. Bottom line: If you enjoy science fiction, this is one you don't want to miss.

Patriot/Traitor
Very important subject matter

I felt as though this tailor written for me. Camping and information security, with some very familiar arguing about legal, political, and ethical issues. Even having heard (or made) these arguments before, the characters and their backstories adds a level of depth that gives a new perspective on the same old questions. Outside of a few narrow communities, I worry that most people don't engage in these debates. It's easy to let the evening news label someone as a patriot or a traitor, but often the reality is much more complicated. They might be neither, or both. I hope you go check out this performance, and think about each character and their context. If you were in their shoes, what would you do?

Persephone
Beautiful

It's hard to find the words. It's very raw, very honest. The movement in the piece is incredibly expressive. It feels like the performers are sharing a very intimate, personal side of themselves with the audience. Given the topic, that takes some tremendous courage, yet they execute it flawlessly without hesitation.

Facebook Lite
Lite-hearted laughs

This is a fun show in a creative format. While it does get a bit repetitive, it had us laughing out loud the whole way through.

Denial of Service
A rehashing of the 2016 campaign season

It was basically an all too familiar debate that you've had a million times with strangers on the Internet, with coworkers on lunch break, or with relatives of a different generation than yourself. The same points, the same counter points. Maybe a touch more civility, as voices never get raised and the characters never seem to lose their cool or take offense. Having lived this debate innumerable times before, I don't feel like I needed to watch other people argue it. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone attending a Fringe show would have learned anything new or gained any insight. It's an important topic, but soft and shallow on the delivery. The tension, being entirely off-stage, didn't help to inspire a sense of urgency.

Clutter, Chaos, Creativity and the Collyer Brothers
Honest but scattered

I was impressed that she could come on stage and just talk for a whole hour at the same frantic pace. But while most of her stories were well told, the style of story telling felt scattered. There was also a frantic pace, and a pleading in her voice, as if she really needed to justify her junk collecting and was seeking the audiences' approval. Unfortunately I felt that some of the stories she told, while honest, were as worthless to her argument as the junk they were meant to defend. Ultimately I came away unconvinced, but if you were ever curious about how it feels to live with AD(H)D watching Judith talk will perfectly describe that experience. In a way, I think that was even more valuable than her stated topic.

The Well
Well acted, but didn't hold my attention

One star for the great acting, and one star for the costumes, but there's little else I can recommend about this one. The story, felt predictable throughout. The first half, seemed to have potential, but the second half felt like it was dragging on. As another review mentioned, the scene changes felt distracting.

Blackbeard's Revenge
Disappointing

As a member of the pirate reenactment community, I really wanted to like this one. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high. There were a lot of little things that clawed at me even from the start. The costumes were all a bit off, in contrast to the level of detail given to the props. The music was also just not quite right. While the singer seemed like she was talented, the songs felt lifeless to me. The song choices also seemed to have no relevance to the plot. The plot was slow and never really gripped me. Much of the dialog seemed redundant.


Pinocchio