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Months after cancellation, Minnesota Fringe goes virtual

Don't worry, theatre fans. You'll still be able to get your "Fringe binge" in 2020.
Credit: Max Hanes
"Vox Medusa" by Max Hanes , Fringe 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Another Minnesota summer staple has shifted to a virtual venue as coronavirus worries keep crowds to a minimum. 

Minnesota Fringe organizers decided to cancel the annual Fringe theatre festival in May, and on Wednesday announced the Nightly Fringe and Digital Hub platforms. The two sites will debut on July 30, which would have been the first day of the annual 11-day festival.  

In a press release organizers said nearly 70 artists from around the world will present live and recorded performances for the virtual event. 

Nightly Fringe shows include local artists and Fringe favorites on a variety of platforms each night. By purchasing a Fringe Button patrons can log in to the Digital Hub. The Digital Hub is a mix of live events and recorded shows, some free and some with an additional fee paid to the artist. 

The paid service also includes recorded shows with audio description or closed captioning, making Minnesota the first Fringe in North America to provide accessible performances to patrons with visual and hearing impairment online. 

“It’s our mission to create platforms for artists to connect with audiences,” said Executive Director, Dawn Bentley. "We are all rapidly learning how to structure our work in new ways so we can support artists and appeal to audiences seeking to engage with the performing arts during a time when we can’t gather.”

Bentley said she hopes the Digital Hub will remain as part of Fringe after 2020.

Proceeds from the sale of Fringe Buttons will go to support Minnesota Fringe as the nonprofit works towards a fundraising goal of $100,000 needed to keep them afloat. 

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