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Fringe ends 2012 with steady numbers, creative diversity

Ash Land was the top selling show in the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Ash Land was the top selling show in the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Photo courtesy Minnesota Fringe Festival

In all, 46,280 tickets were distributed for 839 performances. More tickets were sold in 2011 -- a total of 48,432 -- but there were also more performances last season.

"Even though the absolute ticket numbers went down, once you factor in the reality that we had 36 fewer performances, we stayed right on track with last year's numbers," says Minnesota Fringe Festival executive director Robin Gillette.

The average attendance was 56 people per performance.

"All in all, I think it was a great year, both in terms of show quality and event logistics. Our front-of-house folks moved an extraordinary number of people around with speed and grace," Gillette says.

This year, Ash Land, Transatlantic Love Affair's movement-based take on Cinderella set during the Dust Bowl, was clearly the most popular show. It sold the most tickets, had the highest percentage of tickets sold, and managed four sell outs during the run. 

"People sometimes accuse the Fringe of being all about cheap laughs, but if you look at what sold, you'll see physical ensemble theater [Ash Land and Birds of Passage], a children's show [Neverland], modern dance [Sin Eater], and a show about transgender identities [The Naked I: Wide Open (Abridged)]. Of course, there's comedy in there as well, but it's such a lovely mix of shows," Gillette says.

Those laughs came from a number of other shows in the top-ten sellers, including Class of '98, The Complete Works of William Shatner (Abridged), Candide, and Nightmare Without Pants, the latest work by the 2011 ticket champ Joseph Scrimshaw.

Oh, and it's never too early to think about next year. The 20th Minnesota Fringe Festival will run August 1-11, 2013. Start planning now.

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