Summer Shorts festival moves from UM to Carnival Center
By April M. Havens
City Theatre's Summer Shorts festival featuring short plays is to begin tonight and run through July 8 in the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts' Studio Theater.
Housing Summer Shorts at the Carnival Center is City Theatre's attempt to boost the downtown Miami area, producing artistic director Stephanie Norman said. "This is really a wonderful opportunity for City Theatre to help create a sense of destination downtown through a significant summer event. Culture is a big component of what makes a community vibrant."
Sparking interest in downtown Miami is a goal of the Downtown Miami Partnership, and the Carnival Center has aided that mission, said partnership executive director Josie Legido-Correa.
"I think its biggest impact has been getting people talking about downtown," she said. "It has put downtown on the map and helps bring in people who normally wouldn't come downtown."
Additionally, Ms. Legido-Correa said, she thinks the Carnival Center has helped renew development interests from auxiliary businesses such as restaurants.
Downtown Miami Partnership project manager Robert Geitner agreed. Interesting things have happened since the Carnival Center opened, the Brickell resident said.
"I find myself dressed up with a bunch of other people at 11 p.m. riding the Metromover after a performance," Mr. Geitner said. "For the people who live downtown, the Carnival Center is extremely convenient, and I expect my fellow Brickell-ites attending performances to grow in number over the years."
Mr. Geitner said the Carnival Center is often a selling point for the downtown area. "It projects that we are moving forward," he said. "And since it has been in place, I think a community will develop around it and it will become a cultural hub."
Projects such as the Opera Tower condo development and redecoration of some hotels to reflect an artistic theme further demonstrate the Carnival Center's influence on the area, Mr. Geitner said.
Dana Nottingham, executive director of Miami's Downtown Development Authority, said the Carnival Center has enhanced downtown's revitalization.
"The PAC is having a major impact in revitalizing Biscayne Boulevard, our Window on the World — the place where all our market segments align and will congregate to live, work, play and celebrate Miami's greatness," Mr. Nottingham said. "The Performing Arts Center and its emerging arts district is leading the renaissance of the new downtown Miami experience."
Carnival Center President and CEO Michael Hardy said he looks forward to bringing Summer Shorts to the center. "Summer Shorts is a great program, and we're delighted to work with them and certainly looking forward to bringing them back in the future," Mr. Hardy said.
Justin Macdonnell, artistic director of the Carnival Center, said Summer Shorts "is an excellent addition to the lineup of new, cutting-edge works presented at the Studio Theater throughout the year."
Previously housed at the University of Miami's Ring Theatre, Summer Shorts moved to the Carnival Center due to renovations at the Ring Theatre.
In its sixth season, Summer Shorts presents audiences with two programs of short plays — Program A offering seven and Program B eight. Each play is complete, not a skit.
Tickets are $35 per program, and theatergoers may buy meal tickets for $15. Program A runs Thursdays and Program B on Fridays with both running Saturdays and Sundays.