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So Who’s In the Minnesota Fringe Festival (So Far)?

The Minnesota Fringe Festival is the largest unjuried theatre festival in the United States. What makes it onstage runs a wide range – you can see producers trying out works before backing auditions in New York City, a bunch of friends getting together to mess around, and everything in-between. Last year saw a comedic walking tour (Stuff That Reminds Me of Things), a site-specific piece set in a bathtub (Broken Bone Bathtub), an avant-garde opera about the tradeoffs women make in marrying (The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret), a stage magician who actually broke several bones during the run (No Extra Lives), and a bunch of ladies debating whether or not to off their husbands (The Smell of the Kill) – to name just a few.

One of the peculiarities of the Minnesota Fringe Festival’s producers lottery system is that many groups apply for the festival without a specific show in mind – or, for original content producers, sometimes without a show being even being written or dreamed up. This can result in quick changes as groups drop out and are replaced with eager entrants from the wait list – some of who end up putting together shows in astonishingly short times (the record is something less than 24 hours from notification to opening). Here’s the current list of producing companies with slots in the 2016 Fringe Festival (updated March 27, 2016):

  • 7 Hornets Theatre
  • Abas Theare Company
  • Agile Rabbit Theatre
  • Al-Bahira Dance Theater
  • American Civic Forum
  • Animal Engine
  • B.D. Schmiegel
  • Ballentine Theatre Company
  • Bearwolf Productions
  • Beckettian Donuts
  • Ben San Del Presents
  • Blue Moon Theatre Company
  • Bollywood Dance Scene
  • Bright Wall Studio
  • Caffeinated Productions
  • Casting Spells Productions
  • Catalog Models
  • ChriSTARpher
  • Cialuna’s Storydance Theatre
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Clevername Productions
  • Cloud Leigh Productions
  • Constructed Theatre
  • Conundrum Collective
  • Cosmos Theater
  • Court Ordered Theatre
  • Creativations!
  • DA Dance
  • Damn You Banana Productions
  • DanceCo
  • David Boyle
  • Desperate For Approval Productions
  • Dog Medicine
  • Double-Blind Productions
  • Dreamland Arts
  • Eclectic Otter Productions
  • Eric Larson
  • Erin Sheppard Presents
  • Everything You Want…Right Now!
  • Expensive Wino Productions
  • F.E.A.R. Productions
  • Fearless Comedy Productions
  • Ferrari McSpeedy Theatrical Productions
  • Fortune’s Fool Theatre
  • Foxhill Studios
  • Garden of Song Opera
  • Garlic
  • Gerald Casel Dance
  • Giant Giraffe
  • Got It Made Productions
  • Hegg’s Army
  • Hey Rube
  • History Comes To Life
  • HT Productions
  • Human Doings Productions
  • IDIC Theatreworks
  • Ilana Kapra Production
  • Imagined Theatre
  • InnerVoice
  • Isaak Theatre Productions
  • Its Time Productions
  • Jawaahir Dance Company
  • Jayme Allen
  • Jeremy Terry Productions
  • Jolene Konkel Dance Collective
  • Laura Packer, storyteller
  • Literally Entertainment Productions
  • LookBack Productions
  • Loren Niemi
  • Loud Folk Records
  • Lunar Autumn Theatre
  • Martin Dockery
  • MDK Productions
  • Melancholy Spectacular!
  • Melanistic Squirrel
  • Michael Merriam
  • Michael Rogers
  • Michele Rusinko Dance
  • Mike’s Brass
  • Minneapolis Ballet Dancers
  • Minnehaha Productions
  • minnerican productions
  • Minnesota Shorts
  • Minnesota Tamil Sangam
  • MN SkyVault Theatre Co.
  • Morally Ambiguous
  • Movement by RUTH
  • NEW EPIC THEATER
  • NKBPRODUCTIONS
  • Not Really Reality Productions
  • Notorious PKG
  • OAFtrax
  • Olly’s Room
  • On Tenterhooks Productions
  • One T Productions
  • O’Shea Productions
  • Outlandish Productions
  • Paper Soul
  • Patrick O’Brien
  • Pennywick
  • Perfect Chair Productions
  • Peters, Ives & Co.
  • Pillows!!!
  • Pipermonkey
  • Presence
  • Present State Movement (Tamara Ober)
  • Public Displays of Affection
  • PZ Productions
  • Really Spicy Opera
  • Rebecca Sandell
  • Renew Hope
  • Rhymes with Montana
  • Rooftop Theatre Company
  • RPD Productions
  • SaMi Productions
  • SB Movement
  • Schroedinger’s Dog
  • Scream Blue Murmur
  • Shanan Custer & Carolyn Pool
  • Sheep Theater
  • Showsenthal Productions
  • Siege Perilous Films
  • Six Four Six One Productions
  • SMASH HAMMER
  • Smiling Lune
  • Society for the Preservation of Gravity
  • Sparkle Theatricals
  • Speck of Dust
  • Story Arts of Minnesota
  • Stunt Theater
  • SunsetGun Productions
  • Supergauche Productions
  • Surprise Me! Productions
  • Swing and a Miss
  • Tall Tales, LLC
  • Tedious Brief Productions
  • The Adventures of Les Kurkendaal
  • The BODs
  • The Catalysts
  • The Drollery
  • The Fourth Wall
  • The Miller Conspiricy
  • The Prime Time Players
  • The Red Letter Society
  • The Rose Theatre
  • The Theatre Cosmic
  • The Wandering Uterus Project
  • The World Crime League
  • Theatre Corrobora
  • Theatre of Fools
  • Theatre Unbound
  • Third Act Productions
  • Three Knives
  • Tinker-2-Evers-2-Chance
  • Tom Reed
  • Trifecta Dance Collective
  • TROMPE L’OEIL
  • Trouveres Theatrics
  • Twiggle T Productions
  • two somethings
  • Uncommon Loons
  • Vox Medusa
  • WaHi Productions
  • Wayward Theatre Company
  • Weggel-Reed Productions
  • Windmill Company
  • Zm3 productions

Trying to guess who’s involved with which project is one of the things that makes counting the number of theatre organizations in Minnesota so difficult. Many groups try to flood the lottery, submitting applications under the guise of shell companies (which, if they do well enough, sometimes actually end up as more than fly-by-night operations). A few of the more recognizable names include Casting Spells Production (the house behind the recent Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune)Garden of Song Opera (an opera company founded and entirely run by women, and an applicant in previous Fringe lotteries), Really Spicy Opera (a chamber opera company from Massachusetts that appeared in the 2014 and 2015 Fringe Festivals), Theatre Unbound (no stranger to town or Fringe), and Wayward Theatre Company (a 2014 Fringe Festival producer),

In case anyone was sorry to not see SQUIRREL! on the producing list, there’s also Melanistic Squirrel on the accepted list and an Albino Squirrel Productions. Whether this light-dark pairing is coincidental or gaming, well…debate that over Five Fifths of Titanic on May 9th.

Disclosure: The Twin Cities’ Arts Reader’s Basil Considine is the Artistic Director of Really Spicy Opera.

Hanne Appelbaum

Hanne Appelbaum is the Editor of the Twin Cities Arts Reader. She was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and moved to the Twin Cities to take up a career as a classroom paraprofessional. She is the mother of three children, an enthusiastic educator, and a passionate fan of dance in all of its forms. She enjoys ice skating, Game of Thrones (books over HBO, but who’s counting), and restaurant dives.

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