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2023 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 lottery options.  

There are a few new policies and opportunities in 2023. Please keep reading for more info about the application process, provisions, and tier structures. You can view the 2023 Producer Handbook (opens in new tab) or download a PDF here:

NOTE! Additional information regarding Independent Productions (aka B.Y.O.V. or Bring Your Own Venue or Site Specific Shows) will be posted in February. Registration for IP shows opens March 1.


APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN DECEMBER 1, 2022 - FEBRUARY 15, 2023 

The deadline to apply is February 15, 2023. The lottery will be held publicly on the evening of February 27, 2023. There are three lotteries - general, BIPOC, and touring. Please apply to any of the lotteries that best suit you. You may apply more than once, but you may only apply once per tier (bronze, silver, gold, or platnimum). Duplicate applications for the same producer/company within the same tier will be rejected without refund. 

NOTE! All participants in the 2023 Minnesota Fringe Festival are automatically eligible to participate in the 2023 Fringe Hangover online festival (September 4-14, 2023). 

Producer Funding Opportunities! Be sure to check out our various opportunities for producer funding where you can produce in the festival at no up front cost or no cost at all!

Multi-tier Applications! There are four venue tiers—based on venue capacity—to which artists can apply. One application is accepted per company/producer per tier. A company/producer 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.

A fee for each application is due at submission. NEW! If you have no preference on venue size and you just want to make sure you are in the festival, you can apply to all four tiers at a discounted price.  Fees are graduated based on application date (see below). 

December 1 - 31
January 1 - 31 February 1 - 15
 $30 per tier application  / $100 to apply to all tiers $35 per tier application / $120 to apply to all tiers $40 per tier application / $140 to apply to all tiers

BIPOC Lottery! (formerly Equity Lottery) In our efforts expand our reach, fight against injustices, and become a more welcoming and equitable place for everyone to enjoy the performing arts, Fringe introduced the BIPOC Lottery in 2022. BIPOC producers, writers, directors, and choreographers are encouraged to apply in this category for an opportunity to be one of the first 10% of Festival participants chosen in 2023. Artists not selected from this lottery will have a second chance to be selected in the general lottery. Applications in this lottery are pay-what-you-will.

 

Touring Artist Initiative! Minnesota Fringe loves connecting 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 10% of Minnesota Fringe Festival slots selected specifically for national, international, and Minnesotan artists coming from outside the 11-county metro area. Artists not selected from this lottery will have a second chance to be selected in the general lottery. A fee of $30 is due at submission.


The Basics: Time and Money

All producers must be available for:

  • A scheduled, mandatory producer meeting between May 22 - 26, 2023
  • A scheduled, mandatory technical rehearsal between July 30 - August 2, 2023
  • At least 8 FULL days of the Fringe Festival, August 3-13, 2023

Producer fees to participate in the festival range from $450 to $675, dependent on which Tier (based on venue capacity) you are performing in. Producer fees for artists selected in the lottery are due March 10, 2023.

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 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. Applications for all funding opportunities open in December. 


What you get

  • Five scheduled performances (no longer than 60 minutes each)
  • Guaranteed 70% of your box office receipts. Receipts include sales to your show of single-tickets at full price ($15 advance / $16 at the door), discounted tickets ($14 or $12), or VIP / child tickets ($10). Your box office total does not include the service fee, which Fringe uses to cover ticket processing charges.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Providing marketing language (including photos or graphis, appropriate age and genre specifics, and accurate descriptions of your show) to help promote your show on the Fringe website
  • Actively marketing your show
  • Arranging necessary visas and work permits if coming from outside the United States
  • Abiding by the Fringe rules and deadlines
  • Presence at all mandatory meetings, technical rehearsal, and shows

Is the Fringe Festival right for your production?

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. 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 no longer than 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 10 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.

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.

The first drawing will determine slots for the BIPOC Lottery winners (10% of festival participants). The second drawing will be drawn from appliants to the Touring Artist Initiative (10% of festival participants).  Once those slots are full, the remainder of the BIPOC Lottery and Touring Artist ping-pong balls will be separated out into their respective tiers and mixed in with the general applicants in the tiered lotteries.

There are four separate tiers based on venue seating capacity (see below). Once productions are chosen and a tier is full, the remaining ping pong balls in that tier will be drawn for slots on a wait list. This will be repeated for all four tiers. 

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 runs around $1,200-$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 Platinum and Gold Tiers historically have average payouts 50% higher than those in the Bronze Tier. To help with this decision, we have created a quick analysis using historical Fringe audience data* to help you determine how many seats need to be sold across 5 performances to break even on the producer fee in each tier.

  • Tier Level Platinum (venues have ~235-260 seats) Gold (venues have ~170-200 seats) Silver (venues have ~115-125 seats) Bronze (venues have ~65-80 seats)
    Number of seats needed to sell in order to break even ~100 total seats ~90 total seats ~80 total seats ~70 total seats
    Percentage of seats needed to sell to break even ~9% of total seats available  ~10% of total seats available  ~15% of total seats available ~22.5% of total seats
    *Data indicates an average house size of ~40%, comprised of 45% full price seats, 25% discounted (pass-holder) seats, and 30% free (artists, staff, volunteers, sponsors) seats.

  • 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 the Platinum Tier 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 
Bronze ~65-80 seats $450 21 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)
Dance is possible, but stage size is small
Rarig X is not accessible for actors with mobility limitations who use wheelchairs
Silver ~115-125 seats $550 21  Augsburg Mainstage and U of M Rarig Arena Augsburg Main is a thrust configuration. Augsburg Main has 2 decks and is not accessible for actors with mobility limitations who use wheelchairs.
Rarig Arena has seating on two opposite sides. Dance is possible in both locations, but stage size and configuration may be limiting. 
Gold ~170-200 seats $625 22 Mixed Blood Theater and The Southern Theatre  Mixed Blood is a raised proscenium and is not accessible for actors with mobility limitations who use wheelchairs.
If you need a large open floor for dance, The Southern is the place for you.
Platinum
~235- 260 seats $675 22 Theatre in the Round and U of M Rarig Thrust  Theatre in the Round contains seating on all sides. The Rarig Thrust is a thrust configuration. If you need a 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






Applications are open December 1, 2022 - February 15, 2023. If you've got questions, contact us at info@fringefestival.org.

Apply to General LotteryApply to BIPOC LotteryApply to Touring Lottery

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