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.


923 virtual

155 participating

18 world

1 newly-commissioned work

3 national

5 local/regional premieres

Audiences from 23 states and 10 countries

2021 SHOWS

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A Black Girls Space Oddity Comedy

This play follows the misadventures of two spirited and resourceful girls, Deesha and CeeCee, who take a wrong turn and end up in a different part of "The Land". Armed with quick wit and random items they try to navigate the cosmos in search of a way back home.


Beauty Freak: A Staged Reading

BEAUTY FREAK is a new multi-media play exploring the complex and controversial life and legacy of the German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl was born in Germany and rose to prominence as a silent film actress. In the 1930s, she turned her astonishing talents as the pioneering female filmmaker of her time to the service of the Nazi regime.

Set between 1935 and 1939 in both Germany and the United States, this source-based play explores the creation of art as propaganda and questions the culpability of the artist in how their work is consumed. This piece puts on stage the hatred and hypocrisy at the core of that regime, and places a magnifying glass over Riefenstahl’s unique life. Performed as a staged reading.



Told in four short episodes, BLACKBLADE reveals the climax of a decades-long witch hunt through various perspectives: a charismatic wayfarer who has seen more of the world than almost anyone else alive; the bartender of a famed tavern with a wild history of violence; two of the most brutal, feared assassins the world has ever known. Featuring ancient forests, mythical creatures, and unearthly magic, BLACKBLADE tells the story of a world wracked with power struggles and environmental crisis.

BLACKBLADE is the second part of a theatrical fantasy series called THE TITAN CYCLE, conceived and written by Arif Silverman, and developed and directed by Lillian White. Each play tells a standalone story with its own cast of characters, chronicling sixty years of tumultuous political and environmental transformations in a world not unlike our own.

BLACKBLADE was originally commissioned by the Dixon Place theater, a non-profit, NYC-based company committed to telling diverse, radical stories by emerging and established artists.


Blood Earth Water

"Blood Earth Water" unites historical language, physical theatre, and autobiography to depict the lush and complicated experience of being mixed-Black in contemporary America. This solo performance was inspired by the author's travels, ancestry, and particular brand of suburban angst. Conjure the past, present, and future as we explore the age-old question: "What are you?"


But to work!

Using keen awareness of her physical senses and propelled by a strong commitment to family, a young mother navigates through a medical crisis as a black woman in the US health system.

Cookie Tongue

Cookie Tongue’s Kaleidoscopic Bone House

A theatrical freak-folk musical menagerie, tumbling through a series of animated worlds with puppetry, animation, butoh-inspired dance, and ritual magic, featuring original songs and whimsical interludes inspired by Cookie Tongue's surreal mythology, fairytales, childhood, ghost stories, and a sprinkle of the occult.


Enter LegLand

After a standing ovation at the International Physical Theatre Festival, we are debuting our full production of “Enter LegLand”. Witness our distorted leg-creatures existing in a desert of lost words under the ever-watching free-trial of a censor god, who makes sure all content is EXACTLY PG-13, (never veering into the evils of PG-12 or PG-14.)

Leaning on foundations in bouffon, drag, and sketch comedy, LegLand guides you through a dense and energetic world of absurdity. Incorporating bizarre props and costumes, surreal language, and warped video elements, we distort the traditional sketch comedy show into something that is both distasteful and delicious, lampooning whatever we can get our legs on.


Future Perfect

Love lost and the journey to heal a broken heart. A rock odyssey in the style of David Bowie and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, join the band Future Perfect as they blast off beyond time and space to find the completion of the self.

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Her Mark

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Immersive Rituals – Your Hero’s Journey

This theatrical adventure uses movement, music, and multimedia to transform you from an audience member to a mythic adventurer. Embark on a quest of self-discovery and rediscover the joy of play and connection.
Inspired by Jung and Campbell, Immersive Rituals is a unique blend of movement, music, and visuals that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.



INHABITANTS follows the process of two bodies, Maya and Aysia, finding, making, and exploring space inside of a twig hut in snowy winter woods. In an ecological journey, Maya and Aysia access a deep connection between each other and the environment.

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No Two Flowers

No Two Flowers is an expanded cinema installation; exploring the intersection between masculinity, disability, and how those concepts poetically relate to nature.



The Peek-a-Booth is a pop-up performance art vending machine. When you (and your plus one) are permitted to enter, you'll find the name of an artist, and their menu of actions to choose from, aligning with 6 different buttons. You insert a token, choose one of the buttons, and put on the headphones. There is a live performer waiting behind a one way mirror. The lights turn on, the music starts, and the performer is revealed, enacting what you have selected. It's inspired by the peep show, mysterious and sometimes a little seedy, but the mystery is part of the fun. There is a rotating cast of performers, so you can keep coming back for more and always see something new, maybe even walking away with a souvenir.


Poems of An Angry Feminist

Poems of an Angry Feminist is a thought-provoking, multimedia performance, bringing together poetry, music, dance, and imagery. With a strong feminist voice running through her poems, award winning poet Fatima Matar gives a moving performance on themes of sexism, misogyny, domestic violence, sexual harassment at work, and social justice. Interested in capturing the human experience, Fatima’s poetry also touches on her experience of immigration, belonging, motherhood, loss, and depression.

Fatima’s performance has been described as: profound, moving, spellbinding, and poignant.



“Shadow” begins in absolute darkness. A single dancer moves with green light symbolizing the birth or beginning. As their light grows, they attract a dark creature who slowly begins to steal the light from the shadows. Eventually, the creature pulls all light from the dancer causing them to enter a slumber. The creature emerges out of the shadow in its new, raw form. She is powerful and the energy is intense. However, this intensity cannot be sustained and she is out of her supply. She hits rock bottom as her light fades, but eventually discovers she can generate her own without taking another’s. The dancer discovers the being who stole their light and moves to take it back. The show ends abruptly and in darkness, leaving the audience with their own interpretations.



Come with a story. Leave with a song. If you journey into their virtual studio, Cleveland artists Rachel Drotar, Julia Fisher, and Vickey McBride will gift you with a personalized, once-in-a-lifetime musical experience that will leave you feeling seen - and changed. Rachel will engage you in a heartfelt conversation about your hopes, dreams, memories - whatever you feel compelled to share. Inspired by this conversation, Julia will write and Vickey will compose an original song on the spot, immersing you in the collaborative, creative process. At the end of our 25-minute session, Vickey and Rachel will bring your brand-new song to life in an intimate, personal performance created just for you.


SUNDAZE at the Fringe with Tania Timmons & Ramon Rivas

TANIA TIMMONS is one of Cleveland comedy's strongest and most distinct emerging voices. Only a few years into her artistic path, she's already a regular fixture at prestigious Cleveland comedy institutions like The Improv and Hilarities 4th Street Theater. Whether it's being a featured performer at national events like the Detroit Women's Comedy Festival or highlighted in regional festivals like The Cleveland Comedy Festival or Rubber City Comedy Fest or hosting the weekly SUNDAZE series, her growth and development is an indicator of a healthy and fertile comedic arts scene.

RAMON RIVAS grew up in Lorain OH and has been featured in his own Comedy Central Half Hour Special, as a featured performer on HBOLatino's Entre Nos Stand up series and has projects in regular rotation on Sirius/XM comedy stations. He's performed at prestigious international festivals such as Just For Laughs, SXSW, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival & many more. Rivas is excited to partake in the Borderlight Fringe Festival and help highlight the vibrant comedy scene in Cleveland.

The efforts of Tania and Ramon as 2 resident artists continue to validate Cleveland as an arts destination locally, regionally and nationally. Week in, week out at Dunlap's Corner Bar 3258 w 32nd Street, 44109 in the heart of the Clark-Fulton area of Ohio City.

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Temporary Occupancy

A uniquely interactive, choose-your-own adventure experience by acclaimed Philly-based theatre ensemble, Die-Cast.

Have you been feeling isolated? Craving human experiences beyond the walls of your home? Reserve a night in Vicurious, our boutique hotel experience. Temporary Occupancy uses a single hotel room as the location for a series of interconnected stories. Each explores a different moment of the suspended life of the occupant. A love affair. A moment of grief. But who are these people whose lives we are temporarily occupying?

This digital piece uses an interactive website, video, and chatting to weave a story about the lives we take on and why. Please note the piece is formatted for desktop, laptop, or tablet devices and is not formatted for mobile phones.

“Weird and wonderful”- Philadelphia Gay News
“As the Die-Cast ensemble plays out realistic, understated yet high-stakes vignettes inside a real hotel room, the show succeeds.” - Broad Street Review

Awards + Achievements:
Art Week Miami Juried Prize (2020)

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The Frances Films

In this series of short experimental films, solo artist Chris Szajbert uses simultaneously performed multi-screen Zoom recordings to depict the sexual awakening of a young starlet and the web of misguided souls who contribute to her downfall. These dark yet playful shorts use found toys and original soundscapes to explore mature themes and create a unique and compelling world. Adult content.


The Peek-a-Booth

The Peek-a-Booth is a pop up performance art vending machine. Only one or two people are allowed to view the private show at a time.

The viewer approaches the Booth and exchanges money for tokens. They enter the curtained area and see an array of 6 buttons corresponding to a menu. The viewer inserts the tokens, presses a button, puts on the headphones, and the Booth activates with lights and sounds with a performer inside.
Every hour a new performer is in the booth, so you never know what you're going to get!


The Small Garden

“A variety show! stand up, performance, shorts, theatre, and a meeting with a deity. “a hodgepodge of fringe”.

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The Walks

THE WALKS is an app with a series of walks by German theatre company, Rimini Protokoll. Each walk is a short audio experience for a specific place in your city, and an invitation to rediscover and interact with your environment.

It takes approximately 20 minutes to do an audio walk. Get going whenever you want. You decide how many of the walks you’d like to do and in what order. The stories and soundscapes in the short audio experiences are global in scope. "The Walks" connects people around the world in a local experience via the fundamental human action of walking.

Walking in public gained new meaning with the COVID-19 pandemic. An ancient, daily ritual became an integral part of the new normality. People meet, walk, stroll through neighborhoods, play in landscapes, and perceive their environment anew with every stride.

THE WALKS understands walking as a theatrical scenario – an audio-guided walk in parks, a staged walk in supermarkets or timed interactions on riverbanks. In every city, voices, sounds, and music turn familiar places into sites and landscapes into stages step by step through storytelling, dialogical situations, choreographic discoveries, or musical and rhythmic variations on walking. The title of every walk indicates where or how to do it: “Walk for a cemetery,” “Walk along the water,” or “Walk around a roundabout.”

THE WALKS is a production of Rimini Apparat.

Funded by the Federal Foreign Office, Goethe-Institut and Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft e.V.


Web of Deceit

Val Fuego is a fire ant, former baseball player, and now private eye. She works in the gritty world of Larva Lane, a slimy back-alley full of shady dealers, organized crime, and the gum-covered shoe that she calls an office. One day a beautiful spider comes to Val with a plea: find her missing lover before her murderous husband does. Val’s investigation uncovers a growing threat that could tear the whole alley apart. Will she find this missing centipede and save the day? Or will she get caught in a Web of Deceit? This 45-minute piece combines elements of classic radio plays and graphic novels into a unique theatrical experience, complete with live foley. The performance is accompanied by over 200 illustrations by Sam Dee that dramatize Val’s journey.

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What Do I See Before Me?

The Carnival is in town! Explore the secrets of these traveling characters as they weave their tales in this self-guided virtual and augmented reality production, and all while taking a few selfies along the way. This tech-driven production is unlike anything you’ve seen before. So download the app, grab your headphones, bring a friend, and experience a storytelling adventure that is so unique you have to see it to believe it.