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.

Yep. That's right. Each year we select our lineup by placing numbered ping-pong balls into a bingo cage and pulling 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 and provides the support to make producing a show as easy as possible.

Anyone (yes, anyone) can apply to have a show in the festival. If you'd like to have a show in the 2017 festival, applications will go live in November here on our website.

Minnesota Fringe is one of many fringe festivals across the nation and around the world. Check the rest of 'em out here.

The mission of the Minnesota Fringe is to promote freedom and diversity of artistic expression by linking adventurous artists with adventurous audiences.



Shows start and end on time at the Fringe. With 880 performances of 169 shows in just 11 days, we're on a tight schedule. Shows 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 the weekends there are additional shows at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Late seating: There is NO LATE SEATING at Minnesota Fringe. Here's why. Beyond keeping the festival running on schedule, our primary reason for no late seating is safety.

Safety for people on stage: 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 our patrons: Entering a darkened theater (and possibly the first time a patron has been in a particular space) and trying to find open seats is not only dangerous for the late patron but also for our volunteers and any seated patrons as well.

Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Republic, 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 (or two) and talk. Talk about what you loved. Talk about what you didn’t. Meet the artists behind the shows and find out what you should see tomorrow. You never know what will happen at the Fringe, but dropping by Central gives you a serious head start.


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. Pro tip: 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.


Choosing a Show

With 169 shows to choose from, it's scandalous to see just one. But how to choose your perfect lineup?

Search by genre: You can filter for genres when you're trying to decide what to see.

Talk to people: It only sounds scary. Just look for the folks in lanyards. Pro tip: Lanyards indicate Fringe artists - they'll be glad 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.

Get Involved

Fringe isn't just a festival - it's a community, and it couldn't exist without people like you.

Volunteer: Our 400+ 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!

Be social: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Republic, for a beer, a burger and maybe even some late-night shenanigans.

Create your own show: Applications for the 2017 festival will go live mid-November on this website. The Fringe is open to everyone, all shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Box Office Info

Reservations are optional and may be bought in advance through the Fringe website. Advance sales stop at 1 pm on weekdays and 10 am on weekends. A reservation guarantees you a seat for the show. You must also be wearing a day pass wristband to get in. Day pass wristbands can be purchased at any Fringe venue 30 minutes prior to show time, as well as online with a reservation.

Purchases made in advance allow you to bypass the venue box office completely. Check in with a Fringe volunteer at the house door to pick up your reservation starting 30 minutes before show time. Once reservations are purchased, they are guaranteed and will NOT be resold.

Payment methods: Fringe accepts cash, all major credit cards and checks made out to "Minnesota Fringe Festival."

Kids at Fringe: There is a recommended minimum age for each (see individual show pages on our website). It is up to the parent/guardian to make the final decision; Fringe makes no guarantees about content.

Day pass wristbands: ALL patrons must have a wristband to see a show. Your wristband serves as your pass to any show in the festival on a given day. Wristbands are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends.

Wristbands for kids 12 and under will be available in the venues during the festival for $5 every day.

Late seating: Nope.

Refunds: Nuh uh.




Grandma Bernice Tells All

By Homeward Bound
Written by Kristine Malm Holmgren, Minnesota Playwright
Playing at The Playwrights' Center

Swedish born Grandma Bernice was famous for her story telling and sooth-saying. Join her on stage!

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12-15 and up


Fri, 8/5 @ 10:00pm


Sun, 8/7 @ 4:00pm


Mon, 8/8 @ 8:30pm


Fri, 8/12 @ 8:30pm


Sun, 8/14 @ 2:30pm

Ticket Options

Your wristband serves as your pass to any show in the festival on a given day. Wristbands are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends. Optional reservations to guarantee a seat for any performance are available by clicking the "reserve" button above. Wristbands can be purchased in advance with reservations or at any venue box office during the festival.

Wristbands for kids 12 and under will be available in the venues during the festival for $5 every day.

You don't have to buy a 2016 Fringe button, but you might just want to. It identifies you as a part of our incredible Fringe community and gets you great deals at these local bars and restaurants. Get yours at any Fringe preview event or Fringe venue during the festival.

Read the reviews

WELL Done!

by Larry Ripp on August 13, 2016
This user has reviewed 13 shows

Upon reading some of the reviews I say people are hard to please! HUGE talents on display with this show both in performance and the writing. Also most Guthrie level acting and a script that is insightful, funny, moving and almost profound. And so simply staged! Well directed too! My only quibble is the downbeat material right at the very end. It just doesn't seem to be in the right place. It's fine to include perhaps 2/3's of the way through but leave them with a bit more lightness for the end. I see where the playwright wanted to go though and it was a choice and not a haphazard one. This is a FRINGE show anybody could take something away from. I am SO glad I saw it by accident. Small house, sadly. Deserves a lot more.

Funny and Endearing

by Wendy Jefferson on August 8, 2016
This user has reviewed 1 show

As other reviewers have pointed out, this show is the epitome of a Minnesota goodbye; a few stories at the front door as the sun goes down. Ms. Holmgren is fabulous as her mother; the folksy Minnesotan role isn't over-done, and the nuance of the character shines. The stories are moving, funny, and even a bit dark, and the writing is (not surprisingly) incredible. Ms. Holmgren's improv skills are also on display, as the one-woman show gives her incredible flexibility to weave stories and fortunes together as Grandma Bernice. I loved every minute of it. A truly unique show, and worth seeing again and again.

1 person found this review helpful

Sweet and lovely

by Mary Wilson on August 8, 2016
This user has reviewed 12 shows

I loved the premise of the long Minnesota goodbye interrupted by just one more story. Charming characterization that felt oh so familiar to this grandchild of Swedish immigrants.

2 people found this review helpful

I really wanted to like this show

by Connie Petersen on August 8, 2016
This user has reviewed 34 shows

I had hoped for so much more. An audience participation psychic show? I'm game! A sweet Granny reminiscing about growing up and the people that made an impact on her life? I love those shows! But the mix just wasn't successful for me. In my opinion 'Grandma Bernice' could have a very successful show if she were to choose between the two and develop it further.

1 person found this review helpful

Charming and Personal

by Justin Waker on August 7, 2016
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Grandma Bernice comes on stage and invites you right into her home. I loved the characterization of this one woman show. It was both clever and charmingly simple. There wasn't any feeling of forcing a character or driving the story past where it wanted to go naturally. A lovely example of letting the written text do the work for you with small nuances to help make Grandma Bernice come to life. Reminiscent of a drawn out Minnesotan goodbye.
The greater point of the story was left towards the end and was a bit too subtle but this went along with the subtly of the show's writing itself.
Charming and simple.

2 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Kristine Holmgren

Playwright and performer

Kristine Holmgren is a produced Minnesota playwright - but you may remember her career as a columnist for the Star Tribune.

Her thoughtful political commentary is featured on editorial pages around the world. She is published by The Guardian, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times and many monthly periodicals. She blogs for the Huffington Post and her own website; www.kristineholmgren.com

Holmgren's short stories are anthologized in The Magic of Christmas Miracles, published by William and Morrow and her life outlined in In the Company of Women; published by Minnesota Historical Society Press. She is a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Her plays include "PAPER DADDY" (Northfield Arts Guild, Northfield, MN 2011; Talking Horse Theatre, Columbia MO 2013; Little Theatre, Lake of the Ozarks MO 2015), “SWEET TRUTH” (Berlin Theatre, Columbia, MO, 2013). "THE GIVING HOUSE, A GHOST STORY" was commissioned by the Minnesota Historical Society and is in search of a production house.

“GOD GIRL” is her first autobiographical play, and "GRANDMA BERNICE TELLS ALL" is her first 'one woman' show.

Holmgren's fourth production STAR BABY, is slated for 2017 production.

Kristine is a single mother to two successful, professional women. Today, she lives in Como Park, St. Paul with two opinionated, left-leaning Scottish Terriers, Missus Eleanor and Missus Sarah Roosevelt.

In her spare time Kristine swims Minnesota lakes, hikes Minnesota trails, knits Minnesota sweaters and tries to catch a nap.

More information

"Don't worry what people think.  Most don't."

   Born in Sweden, raised in South St. Paul, Bernice Holmgren lived to see women's sufferage, the construction of the Como Park pavilion and zoo, and the legalization of "oleo" margarine.

.  Grandma Bernice Holmgren; October 6, 1906 - October 1, 1994Bernice Malm Holmgren; October 6,  1906 - October 1, 1994

"You're such a pretty girl.  Why do you make such awful faces?"

She made her own bread, wired her own home, plumbed her own bathroom toilets and read the future for pin money.

"Take that out of your mouth.  You don't know where it's been." 

This year, in celebration of the FRINGE FESTIVAL,  Grandma Bernice appears to share her memories and predictions for the future.  Join her on stage!  

"Never buy a house with a flat roof.  Never have a drink with a married man.  Stash money." 

Bring your dangerous questions - and get ready for answers that will change your life! 

"Don't wear boots in the house. You'll go blind."  


Kristine Malm Holmgren, Playwright 
Metro Transit