File photo by Tom Wallace


This will be Robin Gillette's last year at the helm of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. She announced Monday that she'll step down as executive director after this year's ten-day celebration of performing arts, Aug. 1-11.

Gillette said in an e-mail that she doesn't know what she wants to do next. "True story -- I figure I'll see what the universe has to offer. I'm hoping very much to stay local, however."

She is the longest-tenured Fringe executive director, having come over in September, 2006 after a stint as Mixed Blood's marketing and community relations director. Her first Fringe, in 2007, provided a big challenge as the festival opened the weekend after the I-35W bridge collapse. Attendance plunged from the previous year.

In 2010, the festival hit a record 50,222 tickets sold. That fell back to 46,280 in 2012 -- primarily because fewer shows were presented. Significantly for an organization that had rocky finances early in its existence, the Fringe has established a cash reserve of about $100,000.

Box office payout for artists has increased 34 percent during Gillette's term and the number of individual donors rose 43 percent.

The August festival will be the 20th year. The board will form a search committee to replace Gillette.



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