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Fringe Festival Lottery Application Information

So you want to do a Fringe show... 

Yay! We're here to help make that happen -- whether this is your first time producing or if you've been doing it for years. We believe Fringe is for everyone, which is why we continue to take steps to remove barriers to participation. Get in touch if you need special accommodations, disability services, language interpreters or anything else. We’re here to make Fringe work for you.

Please take a moment to read through ALL the instructions before you apply, including the description of the tiers and payout options. Additional details can be found in the Fringe Festival 2020 Producer Handbook:

2020 Producer Handbook 2020 Producer Handbook

Multi-tier Applications! There are three venue tiers—based on capacity—to which artists can apply. One application is accepted per show per tier. A producer/company may apply to multiple tiers, but can only produce one show in the festival. If your show is randomly selected in multiple tiers during the lottery, you will be asked to choose ONE tier. Duplicate applications for the same project within the same tier will be rejected without refund. A fee of $30 for applications is due at submission.

Golden Lanyard Lottery! Fringe wants to give award winning producers the opportunity to re-engage with Fringe audiences and create momentum for additional work. In 2020, a select number of previous Audience and Artist driven Golden Lanyard Award winners who apply Festival will be chosen from this pool.

Touring Artist Initiative! Now more than ever, it's time to connect with minds on a global scale. We're throwing down the welcome mat for those who bring fresh perspectives and talent into our vibrant metro home by reserving a select number of Minnesota Fringe Festival slots selected specifically for national, international, and Minnesotan artists coming from outside the 11-county metro area.

Independently Produced (IP) Shows! Traditionally, Fringe selects, staffs, and manages every venue in the Festival. This year, we’re inviting producers to select any venue in the metro to stage their show and join the festivities. Have a favorite space where you already perform? Got an idea for a non-traditional performance? Didn’t get chosen in the lottery? No worries. You can still be part of the Festival. IP Submissions will open after the February Lottery. Check out the IP Registration Information page for more details. 

Producer Funding Opportunities! As our way of championing risk and lowering barriers for more producers, we offer producer funding opportunities to either defer or waive fees (up to $500) for selected producers! This initiative is stewarded by the Minnesota Fringe Artist Committee. More information on this initiative can be found on our Producer Funding Opportunities page.                         

Ticket prices to the 2020 Fringe Festival is $15 (adult) and $7 (child) for a single show. (There is no longer a day pass option.) Patrons will have the ability to purchase limited discount admission packages in various increments that equal either $13 or $11 per seat. All festival patrons will be required to purchase a Fringe Button ($4) to attend and in support of the festival.

A $30 fee per lottery application is due at submission. Producers applying to multiple tiers must fill out separate forms for each application. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 13, 2020. The lottery will be publicly held on the evening of February 24th, 2020. Please keep reading for more info about the application process, provisions, and tier structures.

2020 Lottery Winners and Wait Lists

The Basics: Time and Money

The 2020 Minnesota Fringe Festival runs Thursday, July 30 through Sunday, August 9. Plan on being available to perform for the entire duration, as well as being available at least one day from July 26 - 29 for a mandatory 3-hour technical rehearsal.

The $30 non-refundable application fee is due at submission. Production fees are due immediately after the lottery if you receive a slot, or immediately upon entering from the wait-list.

Alternative fee payment options (see Producer Funding Opportunties page to apply):

Minnesota Fringe offers a very limited number of Fee Deferments which deducts your producer fee from your final payout. Fee Deferment applications are also due at the lottery submission deadline. 

Minnesota Fringe will also offer Festival Artist Grants for up to 3 artists/companies in 2020. Unlike the fee deferments, which later deducts the fee from your payout, Festival Artist Grants waive up to $500 of your producer fee. Festival Artist Grant applications are due at the lottery submission deadline.  

Awardees for both Fee Deferments and Festival Artist Grants are chosen by the Minnesota Fringe Artist Committee. Lottery-chosen recipients of both the Fee Deferments and the Festival Artist Grants will be notified within a week after the Lottery. 

What you get

  • Five scheduled performances
  • Guaranteed 65% of your box office receipts. Receipts include single-ticket sales to your show at full price ($15), the admission credit discount rates ($13 or $11), or the kid fare ($7).
  • A professional-grade, well-equipped accessible venue (with additional wheelchair access or other accommodations for artists, available by request).
  • Professional technicians to run the board for your show, including one lighting designer to set cues
  • Ticket sales (advanced and in-person), box office staff and front-of-house services
  • Fringe Producers' Handbook—your comprehensive guide to the festival
  • Use of the Fringe's Actors' Equity contract rate
  • Access to workshops and one-on-one help sessions
  • Drawings and photos of your Fringe managed venue
  • Customizable page for your show on our website
  • Publicity distribution to major press outlets and regional producers/presenters
  • Artist passes for you and your cast to see festival shows for free

What you're responsible for

  • Finding or creating a script; acquiring any necessary rights or permissions for existing scripts/music
  • Arranging/contracting actors and director
  • Costumes, props, sound cues and set pieces
  • Marketing your show
  • Arranging necessary visas and work permits if coming from outside the United States
  • Abiding by the Fringe rules and deadlines

Please remember the Fringe Festival is a different producing environment than "normal" production. The Festival pace is faster, the timeline more compressed, and there is less control over venue choice, tech, ticketing and schedule. Requests that might be reasonable in a single-show venue can prove much more challenging. Guidelines and rules are in place to keep the big picture running smoothly - which is also what makes it fun.

Is the Fringe Festival right for your production?

We believe there's a place for everyone in the Fringe Festival and welcome participation from anyone along the entire artistic spectrum. But the Festival may not be right place for every kind of production. Dream big, but know there are limitations to consider :

  • Keep it short: All shows must be between 45 and 60 minutes long including curtain call and/or audience discussions.
  • Keep it simple: You must be able to load in and set up your show in ten minutes. Likewise, you get ten minutes to load out once your show is finished. Storage is never guaranteed, so you may need to transport your set and costumes in and out for every performance. Venues are shared by up to 11 companies, so lighting configurations will be general to serve many different shows. Projection equipment (video or still) is available in some venues, but is not a guarantee.
  • Keep it inside: Merchandise sales are permitted inside the theater space -- not the lobby -- during your allotted show time.

Too restrictive? No worries! The introduction of Independently Produced (IP) festival shows offers a wider range of options for location, length, and complexity -- among other choices. 

How the lottery works

Fringe Festival shows are chosen by random lottery. Each application is assigned a number, we put the numbers on ping-pong balls, then draw the balls out of a bingo cage as a public event.


List of Lottery Players by Company List of Companies by Lottery Number

2020 Lottery by Company 2020 Lottery by Company

2020 Lottery by Tier 2020 Lottery by Tier

The first drawing will determine slots for the Touring Artist Initiative. The second drawing will be comprised of previous Golden Lanyard Award winners. Once those slots are full, the remainder of the Touring Artist and Golden Lanyard Award Winners ping-pong balls will be separated out into their respective tiers and mixed in with the local applicants in the tiered lotteries.

There are three separate tiers based on venue seating capacity (see below). Each tier has a lottery for a pool of production slots. Once productions are chosen, the remaining ping pong balls in each tier will be drawn for slots on tier-specific wait lists.

If you apply for multiple tiers and your show is randomly chosen in more than one, you will be contacted after the lottery and be asked to select ONE tier. (Once you make your choice, your remaining applications -- whether chosen in a separate tier or on a wait list -- will then be discarded.) All empty slots are then filled by the remaining respective wait list on a rolling basis.

How to choose your tier

Ultimately, we suggest two factors in making your decision:

  • Budget. How much of an initial financial investment do you want to make? How many patrons do you think you might attract? The average box office payout last year was 1,500, but since that's an average, there's tremendous variation. No one gets rich doing the Festival, but more seats in your house increase the odds that a good show and strong marketing will pay off in ticket sales. Shows in Tiers 2 and 3 historically have average payouts 50% higher than those in Tier 1.

  • Show. Think about the scope of your show and consider what size would suit it best. Keep in mind that a small house size does not always equal a small stage. There are venues of all shapes and sizes in each tier, but you’re most likely to find a larger stage with a higher tier. Please note: if you have a cast size of 20+ people, you should apply in Tier 3 in order to accommodate fire code capacity for both the audience and your cast.

IMPORTANT: Since we won't know how many applicants each tier will have until all the applications are in, we won't know what the odds are in each tier. Please don't spend time worrying about probability. Just pick the category that feels right for you.

Tier  Capacity   Fee  Production Slots  Venues Notes 
1 Up to 99 seats $400 TBD  Augsburg Studio and U of M Rarig Xperimental Best for smaller casts and intimate shows
Due to limited seating, big payouts are unlikely
All proscenium stages (no thrust or arena options

2 100 - 199 seats $450 TBD  Augsburg Mainstage, Mixed Blood Theater,
U of M Rarig Arena, and Barker Center for Dance 
If you need a mid- to large-size stage area, this is the place for you. 
3 200+ seats $500 TBD Southern Theater, Theatre in the Round, and
U of M Rarig Thrust
If you need a mid- to large-size stage area, have a large cast, and/or confident in your abilities to draw a large audience, this is the place for you.
Cast size of 20+ should apply in this tier.

Ready to apply now? If you've got questions, contact us at Good luck! 

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