Gladys Ramirez, executive director of City Theatre in Miami. The renowned "City Reads" is scheduled to start this Saturday at the Community Center. (Photo/Provided by City Theatre)
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Three Key Biscayne women founded City Theatre in Miami in 1996. Now for the first time the theater will bring its acclaimed “City Reads” program to the island over the next five months.

City Theatre also aims to bring out the inner Tennesee Williams in residents with a playwriting workshop culminating with their works showcased in the final reading in May. 

And all of it is free. 

The public program will have professional actors read four plays about 10 minutes in length. The first reading is Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Island Room of the Community Center.

“Every event features a new batch of short plays related to themes,” said Gladys Ramirez, City Theatre’s executive director. 

The plays on Saturday will evolve around the theme of community. Themes for following months will be attraction, identity, critters and finally island paradise.

“We usually present a mix of local and national playwrights,” Ramirez said. “We have six to eight actors and we usually have two directors. They are all pros..”

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She said an important part of the program is audience participation after the performances by being able to interact with the directors and actors.

“Sometimes they give their feedback: ‘This works for me. I didn’t get this. What is that supposed to be?’ So it’s part of a conversation that we’d like to have with our audience,” Ramirez said.

The other part of “City Reads” is the playwright workshop that will be taught by playwright Ivan R. Lopez. It is open to all ages but space is limited and registration is required. 

“This welcomes residents to come to us if they want to write their own short plays. We have a master playwright that will help to create something for us to read as part of the last reading,” Ramirez said.

City Theatre was founded in 1996 by Key Biscayne residents Susan J. Westfall, Stephanie Norman, and Elena Wohl and is now entering its 28th season.

City Theatre return its City Shorts program to Key Biscayne in 2022 and produced “What the Constitution Means to Me” in April.

“We were in conversation with the Village and really talking about what can we do that’s not just like a two-day event? How can we interact for longer and have the audience and the residents be part of the conversation?” Ramirez said.

“We thought City Reads was really great programs for us to bring to the Key.”

“City Reads” performances at 6 p.m.. on Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 23, April 27 and May 18. The writing workshop takes place on the same days from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

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John Pacenti

JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.