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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Charles Borchert's reviews

Ronald Reagan: Time Traveler
Dickensian around (sorry)

A fun excuse to play with time travel, republican politics, and the effectiveness of ghost guilt. Really, lots and lots of laughs that came fast - though a few meta jokes, while very clever, were a little too belabored. I wish that the through-line was more pointed or had a more clear message, but that may be asking for too much - perhaps I should think more in black and white and listen to Enya. Rounding up for that, and the time machine special effects.

Gravitational Collapse
Rad, intense, and crunchy

Super cool immersive spaceship atmosphere with a rollercoaster of tension and confusion. The cast embodied their characters with impressive immediacy - their discoveries and quickly changing allegiances felt honest. So many neat evocative ideas and themes come fast, and are fun to chew on all while trying to process the mysteries of the moment. Still chewing days after seeing the show, wanting to play in that world even more. (Full disclosure, my review is biased due to being the writer’s husband. Hi!)

Blackout Improv
Fringe first

So glad that I had Fringe as an excuse to see Blackout for the first time! Great improv talents, and I loved the format to discuss -and then goof with- charged topics. Fearless comedic energy provided lots of laughs. Looking forward to coming back to their shows in the future.

Never Wonder Land
Won Over

I’m real critical of mash-up concepts these days. But this piece won me over with its charm, its movement and flowing fabrics, its child-essence, and its goofing around. A fun, fast flirty flight of fantasy.

Death in Yosemite: A comedic adaptation of the Non-Fiction Book
Highest laugh ratio + useful life tips

Laughed more at this show than any other. I found it remarkable how effectively and quickly that dang ranger (and his pitch perfect performance) could convince me that each real - and yes, tragic- death was actually really funny at its core. Fast-paced and full of great energy from the performers. I feel like a bit of a ghoul, but a satisfied giggling ghoul. And hey, I’ll try a bit harder not to die in the wilderness as a result- finally a Fringe show with a lesson I can actually put to use!

Full Metal Rabbit
Non-matching comedy wavelength

The cast gave their all for this one - they were charming and devoted. And the action moved quickly and energetically. And yet.. I think I got the action movie references, but I don’t think many of the jokes landed for me at all, for whatever reason (outside of some of the clever staging of action movie staples). Plenty of others in the audience had a rollicking good time, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say my humor circuits weren’t working (?).

Slaughterhouse Five: A Musical
Maybe would have preferred no songs

Good energy by the cast, and nice characterization of Billy Pilgrim with minimal dialog and some sublime moments. Loved the movement and music cues. The musical numbers though, with the exception of one, were unmemorable and lyrics were often hard to make out. The central sorrow of the work was missing, in my opinion, and I don’t know if someone who hasn’t read the novel would catch enough to enjoy (though I may be wrong). But, it was dang fun to see scenes from the novel brought to life, so still quite enjoyable.

Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL