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.

Volunteer for the 2016 Minnesota Fringe Festival

When you join Fringe as a volunteer, you put yourself at the heart of what makes this festival tick. You gain valuable experiences, make tons of new friends and contribute to making our festival one of the best in the world.

Last year, we had more than 350 volunteers step up to cover 3,700 volunteer shifts over the span of 11 days. These volunteers ensured performances ran on schedule while keeping our patrons happy. Amazing!

Basically, our volunteer crew rocks. And you have to be part of it.

Signing up is easier than ever – and YOU are in charge!

We’re excited to announce the rollout of a brand new volunteer sign-up process! This year, the power is in your hands to choose your preferred shifts. Once you sign up, you will then have access to your own personal website that will keep track of your schedule and allow you to add and drop shifts as your availability changes.

Sign Up to Volunteer

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. If you need to cancel a shift last-minute, go ahead and drop it in the system, but also contact Fringe Volunteer Services at 612-872-1212, ext. 4.

We love our volunteers!

Seriously, we love you! To prove it, we’ll surround you in gratitude throughout the festival. We will welcome you with open arms into what we call our Fringe Family. On top of that, you will gain an insider’s view as to how such a well-run festival operates.

As a volunteer, you will receive a free t-shirt, free coffee at volunteer training, and a free appreciation event designed especially for you the Wednesday evening of the festival. Oh, and do you like to see theater for free? If so, you’ll love the fact that you’ll get a free day pass for every three (3) shifts you cover.

Sign Up to Volunteer

How volunteering works

Volunteering during the Festival is easy, and we work hard to make sure everyone has a great experience.

  • Sign up for shifts. Get that process started right here.
  • Attend a training session. Every volunteer is asked to attend a training session before the festival. Some policies change from year to year, so returning volunteers should plan attending, too. There are eight to ten training sessions held in mid-July to early August.
  • Review your training manual. "Help!”—our volunteer manual—is the book that explains everything. You’ll get a copy of your own during training, and we’ll also provide a customized copy at each venue.
  • Show up and have fun. It’s that easy!

Festival volunteer opportunities

Box officer: As a box officer, you will provide exceptional sales and customer service. You greet patrons and sell wristbands and buttons. You are also responsible for reconciling the box office and preparing for the next performance. You must be comfortable with counting and handling cash, working on a tablet device for credit card purchases, multi-tasking, and working in a fast-paced environment. You must arrive 45 minutes before show time. Your shift is over when your House Manager dismisses you.

Sidekick: As a sidekick, you are the most versatile of the volunteers! You will greet patrons, direct traffic, and answer questions. You will also be passing out tokens and handling will call. You must be comfortable multi-tasking and working in a fast-paced environment. You must arrive 45 minutes before show time. Your shift is over when your House Manager dismisses you.

Usher: As an usher, your focus is engaging with patrons so they enjoy all aspects of their festival-going experience. You will greet patrons, distribute programs and take tokens as patrons enter the theater. You may need to assist patrons with special needs to their seats and provide other patron services. You are also responsible for keeping the lobbies and seating areas tidy. You must arrive 45 minutes before show time. Your shift is over when your House Manager dismisses you.

Lobbymeister: As a lobbymeister, you are the final face of the Fringe for the night. You hang out in the lobby until the night’s final show is finished. Before you leave, ensure that the house and lobby is empty of patrons. Please also check in with your House Manager to see if there are any final tasks to handle before heading out. NOTE: We prefer that the lobbymeister also be a box officer, usher or sidekick for the night's last show.

On-call box officer: As an on-call box officer, you agree upfront to be there when we need you most. You volunteer for a four-hour block of time, during which you are able to fill in at any Fringe venue—often at a moment's notice. You must be stationed in a central location during your on-call shift so you can respond quickly to requests for assistance. A car, cell phone and completely clear schedule are required to fulfill your duties as an on-call box officer.

Who can volunteer

Fringe welcomes anyone 12 years of age and up as part of our volunteer team.

  • 12-15 years old: You may volunteer as an usher at any of our age-appropriate shows. You will need to volunteer with a parent, guardian and/or other responsible adult. Both of you will need to submit separate volunteer registration forms--ensure you list each other on the form. Finally, you and your parent/guardian will need to sign a festival waiver form for you to participate.
  • 16-17 years old: You may volunteer as an usher, box officer or sidekick at any of our age-appropriate shows. You and your parent/guardian will need to sign a festival waiver form for you to participate.
  • 18 years old and up: You may volunteer in any of our front-of-house positions. You will need to sign a festival waiver form to participate.

Group volunteering during the festival

Everything is more fun with friends—and volunteering at Fringe is no exception. If you are looking to sign up your group of friends, artists, neighbors, book club members, or employees for a few shifts or a whole day, email Volunteer Services.

Sign Up to Volunteer

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