In March 2020, City Theatre was in the midst of the 2019-2020 SHORT CUTS TOUR to Miami Dade County Middle Schools, rehearsing our annual touring production to Key Biscayne, and planning our 25th anniversary celebration of SUMMER SHORTS at the Arsht, when COVID closed the country, state and county.
We quickly realized that "shorts", a nimble and portable art form, could adapt and pivot from stages to screens. On April 3, we mounted our first Zoom presentation to fulfill a City of Coral
Gables-funded reading series at Books & Books. We also began to contribute virtual content to the online Arsht@Home Series. Our presentations included age- and issue-appropriate commissioned works we recorded families with teenagers, plus original monologues and shorts by local and national playwrights. Some were multi-lingual works that reflected the dynamic cultures of our community, including a bilingual work in English and ASL called DEAF DAY by Leslie Ayvazian.
To reach out to City Theatre audiences and others, we created VIRTUAL SHORTS to give viewers weekly opportunities to enjoy online readings of new and revival works, but also, to provide a peek into the play development process with the many actors, directors and playwrights who have been part of the company over the years. In June, we premiered the Virtual SILVER SHORTS
Gala, a celebration of plays to fundraise for City Theatre, the South Florida Theatre League Relief Fun,d and the Arsht's AileyCampMiami.
We're currently planning digital and live variations of SHORT CUTS for its 23rd year with online and socially distanced presentations for student audiences.
To celebrate the 2020 class
of the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest, a special Digital Contest
Series of these remarkable new plays is in pre-production for fall.
The pandemic has caused the postponement of our full-length December production at the Arsht until 2021. We're partnering with the Arsht to create socially-distanced, on-site performances live at the Center's plaza, as well as other pop-up locations. In addition to allowing us to continue providing services to the public, these ongoing programs are providing playwrights, actors, designers, technicians, and contract staff with much-needed job opportunities in these unprecedented times.