On January 25th Deering Estate at Cutler opened a new chapter in their storied history. With the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, along with the County Mayor and Board of Commissioners, Mr. and Mrs. John Fox and the Deering Estate Foundation, the old Visitor Center Auditorium has been converted into an intimate 95-seat theater.
The invitation-only grand opening was themed with 1920s red carpet treatment of guests, complete with searchlights, a radio announcer Master of Ceremonies and mint julep cocktail reception.
The ribbon cutting honors went to Deering Foundation President Dave Marley, with (l to r) Mayor Shelly Stanczyk, Kim Yantis, Adriana Perez, Bill Irvine, Dave Marley, Mary Pettit, Dominic D’Andrea (hidden) and Jennifer Tisthamme enjoying the moment.
A theater dedication was made where key members of the project spoke about how the theater will attract and enhance cultural affairs in South Dade. Mary Pettit Executive, Director of the Deering Estate Foundation said, “This is a grand occasion indeed! We can’t thank the Knight Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Suzuyo and John Fox enough for investing in this project. This new space will serve as an incubator for the innovative works of performers and writers alike while offering a variety of performances throughout the year that the whole community can enjoy.”
Once inside the theater, guests were treated to the premiere performance of the 2nd annual South Florida “One-Minute Play Festival.” The show is a localized version of approximately 70 bits of performance art, focusing on localized comedy, politics and trending topics.
Deering Foundation members Vicky and Michael Hinz told me, “We’re excited to have a space at Deering that will allow more cultural arts programs to thrive in South Dade. The theater will also be used for lectures, education and other events. Tonight was fun and there’s a lot more fun in our future.”