BorderLightā€™s mission is to present innovative theatre that inspires, builds cross-cultural understanding and celebrates the diversity of the human experience.

A look back:

  • 2019: BorderLight debuted with 40 productions and special events over 4 days, including work from South Africa, Syria, Mexico, Ireland, and Israel.
  • 2021: Due to Covid-19, the festival pivoted to a Virtual Fringe Festival featuring 38 live streamed and on-demand performances from around the world.
  • 2022: BorderLight returned to downtown Cleveland with 46 shows over 5 days, including work from Germany, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia.
  • 2023: BorderLight hosted its first all-fringe festival over 3 days featuring 35 shows by artists from around the country and a silent disco.

The BorderLight Theatre Festival takes place in downtown Cleveland in late summer. The Festival presents diverse and adventurous new work through three strands of programming:

  • A dynamic local/national fringe festival featuring dozens of shows programmed through an open call for submissions.
  • A curated selection of acclaimed international touring productions.
  • New work created by Cleveland organizations in partnership with international artists.

BorderLight brings thousands of audience members to downtown Cleveland to experience affordable, surprising performances from across the theatrical spectrum. Some performances are outside and free, while others are staged in novel spaces. By making theatre more accessible, BorderLight engages Clevelanders and visitors with the city and brings life to its streets. In turn, this creates long-term cultural, social, and economic impacts to benefit our region.

BorderLight is managed by a dedicated board of directors and a small year-round staff that at festival time grows to include 35 additional seasonal hires, event and marketing specialists, and 50 incredible volunteers.

"BorderLight has ignited a beacon." - Thomas Mulready, COOL Cleveland

Photo by Steve Wagner
Photo by Steve Wagner

Our Vision

  • To serve as a catalyst for Clevelandā€™s cultural and economic growth.
  • To expand Clevelandā€™s reputation as a theatre destination.
  • To develop the next generation of artists, producers, and theatre workers.

BorderLight is a proud member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA).