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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Showtimes

Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With 850 performances of 167 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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. 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.

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Choosing a Show

With 850 performances of 167 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 go live mid-November on this website. 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.

Attend: Thanks to the new day pass system, attending Fringe is easier and cheaper than ever.

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!

Socialize: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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 + Token = Your Admission

Everyone needs a valid pass to see a show. In addition to your pass, you will receive a token at the venue which guarantees you a seat. Turn in your token to the usher when you enter the theater.

More information about passes and policies here.

Reservations

Optional reservations guarantee a seat for a particular performance and can be purchased online in advance. You must also have a valid to get in. Day passes can be bought online with a reservation to save time, and can be picked up at the venue box office 30 minutes before the performance.

More information about reservations here.

Rules

For everyone's safety, Fringe does not allow late seating or re-admission. Photos and video are prohibited without written permission from the production staff. Fringe cannot provide refunds or exchanges.

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Volunteer Jobs

There are many opportunities available for those who wish to make a difference by donating their time to Fringe.

Box officer: As a box officer, you will provide exceptional sales and customer service. You greet patrons and sell day passes 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 reservations. 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 be asked to handle reservations or hand out tokens before the house opens. 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, after all the other volunteers and House Manager leave. 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 we can direct you to 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. We'll give you a call the day of your shift to tell you where to go. Think of yourself as a secret agent, waiting for your mission. A car, cell phone, and a completely clear schedule are required to fulfill your duties as an on-call box officer.

Billeter: Help defray the touring costs of an out-of-town artist by providing lodging and a home base. As a billet host, you will open your home to performers from across the country and around the globe!

Sign up to host an artist

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 please give us as much notice as humanly possible.

Requirements

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 & 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

More is better —and volunteering at Fringe is no exception. If you are looking to sign up your group of friends, artists, neighbors, co-workers, or book club members for a day of volunteering together, just email Volunteer Services at volunteer@fringefestival.org.

I'm so ready to Volunteer

Surly