Could St. Paul host a second Fringe Festival?

The Minnesota Fringe Festival is around the corner, and new Executive Director Jeff Larson has made some changes.

Set for July 31 to Aug. 10 at 15 venues in Minneapolis, the festival will feature a new website geared for mobile access. So festival-goers should have an easy time writing reviews from theater lobbies. The Fringe also  is bringing back site-specific performances in four different shows.

But perhaps what’s most interesting are the changes still in the works.

When the Knight Foundation released the details earlier this week of 69 grant proposals who’d made it to the second round, the Fringe Festival had a proposal among them.

Larson thinks the Twin Cities could handle a second Fringe Festival — a winter one in St. Paul.

Comedy Suitcase presents “Kafka Nuts” at this year’s Minnesota Fringe Festival.
(Image courtesy the Minnesota Fringe Festival)

 

“I like the idea of two distinct festivals better than expanding the summer festival to both cities,” he said.

Larson imagines the second festival would be smaller, with 50 to 55 shows in its first year, as opposed to this summer’s 169 shows.

He points out that New York City has two fringe festivals, though they are run by two different companies.

“The Fringe is great at getting theater goers into spaces they aren’t familiar with,” Larson said, “and we could do that in St. Paul.”

The festival’s grand proposal to the Knight Foundation asks for $100,000, in part to allow it to hire additional staff.

“We would have to hire people because it really does take all year to plan the Fringe,” Larson said. “So ultimately we’d be creating both artistic opportunities and arts jobs.”

So what do you think? Could St. Paul host a second Minnesota Fringe Festival?