Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

July 23, 2012 6:00 AM

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fringe festival Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

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Minnesota Fringe Festival
Various locations
(612) 872-1212
Dates: August 2-12, 2012

This August, the Minnesota Fringe Festival will celebrate its 19th season in the Twin Cities. An 11-day festival featuring all things performing arts, the Fringe Festival provides various venues for amazing live entertainment and talent. Last year, the festival drew almost 50,000 visitors and welcomed 168 different productions ranging from poetry to improv and dance.

The 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival will be held from Thursday, August 2nd until Sunday, August 12th in venues across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Most of the theatres are located in Uptown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota’s West Bank.

Fringe festivals originated in Edinburgh in the 1940s by acting troupes and performers outside of the mainstream. These performers produced shows and acts on stages located on the fringe of classical theatre. Today, fringe festivals exist in cities across the United States to make live theatre more accessible for both performers and audiences.

Related: Best Places To See Ballet In Minnesota

Performers are decided by lottery and the lineup has been known to change frequently. The Minnesota Fringe Festival is the largest festival in the country to have a lineup decided by pure chance. This year, the festival received 462 applications for the 165 performance slots. While all of the acts are sure to be entertaining, five must-see productions are listed below.

playwrights center Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

Playwrights’ Center (photo credit:

Colfax Theatre presents “Never Mind”
The Playwrights’ Center
2301 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Although Colfax is new to the festival this year, the cast and crew are no strangers to Minneapolis theatre. “Never Mind” is an adaptation of Minnesota author Pamela Joern’s novel “The Plain Sense of Things.” A story of an unlikely friendship and strength during WWII, “Never Mind” is scheduled to play at the Playwrights’ Center during the festival.

theatre in the round Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

Theatre in the Round (photo credit:

Mainly Me Productions presents “Class of ‘98”
Theatre in the Round
245 Cedar Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454

The company was a hit at last year’s festival with the comedy “Our Freaking Kids Show.” Mainly Me’s “Class of ‘98” is slated for the Theatre in the Round this year. See if this production can compare to the success of last year. Everyone’s been through high school at one point. See if these actors can be as dramatic as your classmates from those younger years.

skel 1171 Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

Rarig Center at the University of Minnesota (photo credit: Andrea Wodele)

Joking Envelope presents “Nightmare Without Pants”
Rarig Center
330 21st Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Joking Envelope is a talented comedy troupe that has been around the Twin Cities since 2009. Last year, it was voted City Pages’ Best Original Comedy Company. Joking Envelope performed a comedy show for kids that was popular with reviewers and crowds at the 2011 Festival. However, with a title like “Nightmare Without Pants,” this performance is sure to be relatable for all audiences. It is scheduled to run at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Center.

rarig center Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

Rarig Center (photo credit:

Far from the Tree presents “Steampunk Apocalypse”
Rarig Center
330 21st Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Seasoned-playwright Minrod Mier weaves a tale of Victorian time travelers, dancing sorority-girl vampires, zombie rats, crazy cat ladies and Sci-fi nerds. What’s not to like about that lineup? This production is scheduled to perform at the Proscenium Stage at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Theatre.

the evolution of sam Guide To The Minnesota Fringe Festival

Evolution of Sam (photo credit:

SPARK theatre+dance presents “The Evolution of Sam”
Gremlin Theatre
2400 University Ave West
St. Paul, MN 55114

SPARK is a non-profit organization that produces and performs original dance and theatre productions throughout the year. “The Evolution of Sam” is a slapstick comedy about a bachelor named Sam who evolves from a monkey to a man while looking for love. The theatre in which this performance will be shown has not yet been released.

Showtime and venue information for other performances is available at the Minnesota Fringe Festival website.

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Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. Her work can be found on

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