past festivals

Whether you’re an avid theater goer or new to live performance, or perhaps an adventure-seeker looking to discover hidden gems of downtown Cleveland, there’s something for everyone at BorderLight.

Explore recaps of all of our festivals to date!


In 2019, shows included: international touring productions from around the globe, a fringe festival of fresh, alternative, and original performances from companies across the US, along with special collaborations produced by BorderLight, created in a partnership between visiting international artists and some of the city’s most celebrated local theatres: Cleveland Public Theatre, Karamu House, Dobama Theatre and Cleveland Play House.

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2021 was a year marked by pandemic uncertainty and the inventiveness of theatre artists, many of whom turned to digital in order to keep creating. BorderLight pivoted to a digital-only model, featuring 31 newly minted on-demand and live-streamed fringe shows on our website. We also presented two self-guided audio experiences that offered social distance: “The Walks” was created by Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll, and the other, “Under the Sycamores,” was produced by Cleveland’s Radio on the Lake Theatre, written by playwright Les Hunter, and performed by local actors. The 2021 BorderLight Virtual Fringe took place July 22-31. Here, we share with you some highlights from that special year.

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Having last produced a full festival in downtown Cleveland in 2019, our debut year, BorderLight made the decision to postpone its scheduled biennial festival in 2021 in favor of a summer-long Virtual Festival that featured livestreamed and on demand Fringe acts from around the world. In July of 2022, we returned to our original festival model of presenting in-person theatre in downtown Cleveland, which included a small number of international works plus a substantial domestic Fringe Festival. It was thrilling to be able to return to booking in-person performances and bringing performers here from abroad, despite the challenges of disrupted travel and visa delays.

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The 2023 BorderLight Fringe Festival marked an exciting chapter in our history, our first year of all FRINGE! The introduction of a silent disco brought rhythmic beats to life, and the utilization of diverse spaces offered a dynamic atmosphere, creating hubs of creativity and engagement. From interactive installations to thought-provoking performances we invited all to explore, connect, and celebrate the transformative power of performance theatre.

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