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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Anne Christians' reviews

Five Starrs

Really fun and well crafted. Hannah Starr does a great job of providing one woman sketch comedy that wraps around and tells stories that are both relatable and viable social commentary. This is exactly the kind of show I think of when I think of fringe, and I think Starr's career will be one to watch.

The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
A memory box you won't soon forget

This was a delight to watch. It was very obvious that all involved are technicians of the craft and considered the show from all angles. As a result, the production was very tight, well executed, and extremely polished. The story was interesting and held your attention throughout. The format was very effective, and the acting was excellent. This show is a must-see, and I hope it goes into further production after the fringe.

The Last Bombardment
Tight horror, some quibbles

The cast and director did an excellent job of world-building and making us feel like there really were thousands of people in the town. That said, the individual performances were a bit uneven and occasionally the pacing dragged. The show could have benefited from a few more technical cues to break up scenes and expand on some moments while minimizing others. I would recommend this show if you are interested in the horror of the human condition and cool effects regarding balloons.

Pope Joan
You'll leave wanting to google it

This production was greatly served by just how fascinating the story is. Technical aspects and blocking were fairly good, but the acting could have used a bit more work-shopping. There were occasional pacing issues, but mostly this was an enjoyable and interesting show.

It's About Love Again This Year
Quaint, but lacking weight

At the risk of sounding like I don't understand avant garde dance, this show could have benefited from more structure to the storytelling. It seemed at first that we were being set up to explore vignettes of different kinds of love (pets! cake!) but that quickly crumbled away to the detriment of the performance. Visually, it was all very lovely and enjoyable to watch, but for a show about love it was lacking a lot of substance.

The Tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Empire Strikes Out

This show would have benefited greatly from committing to being a Star Wars themed hour of sketch comedy. The narrative parts, particularly Obi-Wan's monologues, brought the production to a screeching halt and should have been cut or greatly reduced. While there were some fun high notes, mostly attributed to the droids and Chewbacca, the unfortunate unevenness of the production overshadowed any fun the cast and audience were having and made this a longer hour than it needed to be.

Bryant Lake Bowl