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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Brian Stepanek's reviews

His Name Doesn't Matter
Great Performance!

Super enjoyable production combining both comedy/storytelling and social commentary about how much of a struggle it still can be to not be male or straight in this country. Well acted! We just never got to meet the cat...

One of the MUST SEE shows this year

WOW WOW WOW! This show, which tackles the very real challenge of dealing with an aging parent with dementia, hit hard (two of my grandparents had similar conditions to the man in this play) and felt so very real. The acting was superb and believable, and the script found a way to take on many of the issues that come with this sort of disease in a heartfelt, honest depiction. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. A must see!

Good Kids
Amazing play, a must see this year!

This is another MUST SEE play this year at fringe. Everything about this performance was amazing: the acting was SUPERB (all of the young men and women were super talented, especially the women that played the narrator and the victim) and the script was very well written (perfectly tackling a very important topic and doing an amazing job of making you think about what you can do to help put an end to rape culture). Every high school student and every parent/future parent should see this play once, and I wouldn't hesitate to take my kids to it once they reach that age (the play, while very real, is appropriate at least for children in middle school and up).

Anarchy! (a handbook)
A funny romp through left-wing culture

This performance, a series of acts about people and culture of the far left (fringe if you will) of the political spectrum was a great, light-hearted way to end the evening. While mostly in favor of left-leaning ideas, the play also pokes fun of ultra-liberals and, really, itself at many points while having you laughing the entire time. Still, it has a very serious message about the current political climate that it makes no secret of (especially at the end), and it will definitely get you thinking about the current political climate. Very well done!

A Tony Award In The Making?

This play was pretty great! Not only did it tackle multiple, very important topics, but it did so in a very different but thought-provoking fashion. I had elements of two of this year's Academy Award nominated films; it really reminded me at times of Fences, but it also had a few elements of Moonlight in it too. It was a great stand-alone piece, but I could also see it being added to, creating a full-length play, in the future. A must see this year from one of Minneapolis's most talented actors and playwrights!

Blackout Improv
Funny and relevant, had its dull moments

I really liked most of this show: it was super funny, tackled some very relevant current events in a humorous way, and the actors were really good at improv. I especially liked the segments on "I Don't See Color" and "Cats vs Dogs." However, there were periods where the cast was discussing topics that felt really slow too. Still, a solid show!

A Mermaid Abroad & A Fish Out of Water
Great material, weird segways...

I enjoyed 90% of this show, including some amazing stories that reminded me of my own travels. The acting was great, and I liked the use of lighting. The one weakness was the segways between acts...some of them felt either too forced or too awkward (such as the bathroom one). Otherwise, great show!

Blood Debt
Too Morbid and Not Believeable Enough

While there were parts I enjoyed, including the overall premise, the show was too morbid for me and the acting not believable enough.

Humble Cup