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BorderLight Festival Brings International Theater Experiences to Cleveland

A photo of a theater performance
Credit Sara Brown
BorderLight Festival
"A Kingdom, A Chasm" is just one of 40 performances in the BorderLight Festival across downtown Cleveland.

The BorderLight International Theatre and Fringe Festival opens this week and will bring more than 100 artists and 40 productions to downtown Cleveland.

Four years in the making, BorderLight brings in national performances and international artists from South Africa to Ireland.

It's a mix of traditional theater and some more unusual productions, like "A Kingdom, A Chasm," a post-apocalyptic play from New Orleans that takes place inside a vintage Mercedes Benz literally parked on Cleveland’s Public Square.

"They had to learn to live with each other and get along with each other. They use the car as the set, so they’re all around it and over it, and it’s very, very physical," said Co-founder and Co-director Dale Heinen. 

Modeled in the style of European festivals, Heinen said BorderLight’s performances range from a Syrian civil war drama to a parade of giant animal puppets marching through Cleveland’s downtown.

"So these are professional theater companies with high production values. And some of these people are considered to be the best in the world at what they do. So they’re alongside these emerging artists, and we think that’s really exciting," she said.

The festival runs through July 27.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.