With a flexible seating capacity of up to 250 seats, the Carnival Studio Theater is the Arsht Center’s intimately designed black-box space for a wide variety of smaller-scaled presentations, including theater, dance, cabaret, comedy and more. Located inside the Ziff Ballet Opera House, the theater can be accessed directly from Biscayne Boulevard between N.E. 13th and 14th Streets, as well through the Ziff Ballet Opera House lobby entrance on N.E. 13th Street. In 2012, the luxury travel magazine Departures designated the Carnival Studio Theater one of the “world’s most beautiful theaters.”
Performances at the Carnival Studio Theater are intimate, unique and personal. Perhaps more than any other venue at the Arsht Center, the Carnival Studio Theater represents the Arsht Center’s philosophy that world-class and community-based are not mutually exclusive. The venue is home to several Arsht Center Signature Programming initiatives, including Theater Up Close, a theater subscription series featuring productions co-presented with theater companies, both local and national; Miami Made, the Arsht’s program of aggressive commissioning, development and presenting of new works by Miami artists; and Family Programs, with shows from around the globe designed specifically for children and their families.
Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects with maximum flexibility, the Carnival Studio Theater’s seating and stage can be reconfigured according to the specific artistic needs of each production: proscenium, thrust, cabaret, in-the-round and festival seating. In spite of its simple black-box design, the space boasts an aircraft cable grid system suspended at approximately 21 feet above the deck, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems able to accommodate the most sophisticated designs, including a large-cast play, multi-disciplinary music-and-dance piece or a solo cabaret entertainer.
Born in Havana in 1914 and for many years a resident of Miami until his death, Cundo Bermudez, the legendary artist whose exuberant tile murals are found on public and private buildings throughout the Americas, was commissioned by Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places to create a site-specific work for the theater lobby. The whimsical Ways of Performing is a floor-to-ceiling glass-mosaic tribute to performing artists and their art, a colorful kaleidoscope of images that illustrates the act of artistic creation itself. It is an extraordinarily youthful creation by a 92-year-old visionary.
Selected Carnival Studio Theater Programming Highlights
Theater: Alliance Theater (Brothers Beckett); Celebrity Autobiography, City Theater (annual Summer Shorts Festival); Classical Theatre of Harlem (King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death); Forbidden Broadway; House Theatre of Chicago (The Sparrow, Death and Harry Houdini, The Nutcracker, A Magical New Play); Annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival; Mad Cat Theater; (Broadsword); Reduced Shakespeare Company; Second City; University of Miami Department of Theater Arts (The House of Bernarda Alba, Girls vs Boys); Zoetic Stage (All New People, I Am My Own Wife, Savannah Disputation, Captiva, South Beach Babylon).
Dance: Arsham & Bokaer, Ayikodans, Brazz Dance Company, Decadance Theater, Replica, RHAW, Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, Tamango’s Urban Tap, Yin Mei Dance.
Family Programs: Marionetas de la Esquina, Butterfly Garden.
Cabaret: Karen Akers, Christine Andreas, Andrea Marcovicci, Mark Nadler, Sheri Rene Scott.