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Theater Emergency Relief Fund

Patrons of the performing arts come to see the performers, hear the words of the playwrights, and marvel at beautiful choreography. However, there are as many or more talented individuals behind the curtain whose job it is to remain unseen. The wash of color across the stage that sets the mood, the music or subtle atmospheric sounds that trigger emotion, the perfectly timed cues that keep every moving part of the story flowing.

Technicians, designers, and stage managers in the booth and behind the scenes often go unnoticed simply because they are so amazing at their jobs. But with theaters closed, many of these professionals and gig workers have been without steady income for nearly 10 months.

Minnesota Fringe is honored to administer the Theater Emergency Relief Fund, specifically designed as rapid response grants for Theater and Dance Technical and Design professionals who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID relief fund is open to all individuals living in Minnesota who work in Theater or Dance Production or Design, whether full or part time, regular staff, or contract workers. Awards will be made on the basis of need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, not merit. Individual grants will be $1,200 and awards will be given until the fund is depleted. We expect to award a minimum of 55 80 grants.


This fund is provided through a generous gift from an anonymous donor who wishes to champion the importance of the work and art done behind the curtain to make our stages come to life. But YOU can help too! 

Minnesota Fringe is taking one-time donations
specifically to bolster Theater Emergency Relief Fund.
One-Time Donation to the fund

Grant Eligibility:

To be eligible, applicants must be able to answer “Yes” to ALL of the following prompts:

  • I am a practicing Theater and Dance Technical or Design Professional able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to my work;
  • I have been living and working in Minnesota for at least 1 year;
  • I am experiencing dire financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • I am 18 years of age or older;
  • I can provide a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) after I’ve been notified of my selection

Applications are available December 31 through January 15.


All applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of theater and dance professionals. Priority will be given to applications with critical needs as described in the application. A minimum of 10% of gifts will be awarded to members of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color) populations, LGBTQIA+ community members, disability community members, and/or those that live outside of the 11 county, Twin Cities Metro Area. Payments will be processed by Minnesota Fringe and in the mail before the end of January.


  • Jeff Brown (he/him) - Owner of BrownKnows Design (lighting, scenic, museum exhibit design and fabrication shop), Duluth, MN
  • Stella Fasanello - Call Steward, IATSE Local 13 (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)
  • Mitchell Frazier - Actor, Director, Independent Lighting Designer, Minneapolis, MN
  • George Grubb - Technical Director / Sound Design, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN
  • Merritt Rodriquez (she/her/hers/they/them) - Production Manager / Production Designer, St. Paul, MN
  • Doug Scholz-Carlson (he/him) - Artistic Director, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Winona, MN
  • Abbee Warmboe (she/her) - Freelance Props Designer, Minneapolis, MN

The Minnesota Fringe Emergency Relief Fund is supported in part by the City of Minneapolis office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy        

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