Theater / Film

Culture Shock Miami offers $5 tickets to the future

Written By Mike Hamersly
August 27, 2019 at 5:00 AM

It’s an all-too-common story for many families: The Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Driving Miss Daisy” is coming to town Sept. 4-22, and your teenager has recently developed a strong interest in the theater.

The problem? The family budget is tight, and you can’t see spending $40 to $60 on the show.

Culture Shock Miami to the rescue. This performance is one of many arts events with $5 tickets available for patrons aged 13 to 22. It’s all part of an effort to foster a love of the arts in young people.

“The mission of Culture Shock Miami is to develop the audience of the future, to support the next generation of audience members,” says Christina Tassy-Beauvoir, project manager at the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. “We’re giving them an opportunity to give the arts a try when they’re beginning to make their own entertainment decisions.”

Culture Shock Miami has announced its 2019-20 season, which includes four shows it presents directly (the program also sponsors dozens of other events, many at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC) in Cutler Ridge and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (MDCA).

The shows include: spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan Sept. 28 at SMDCAC (“he really talks to issues that are very important to today’s audience, things like bullying, social change and climate change,” Tassy-Beauvoir says); illusionist Jason Bishop Feb. 1 at SMDCAC (“he’s known as the hottest illusionist of his generation, and he’s opened up for stars like Drake and Kesha”); the powerful theatrical drama “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom” Feb. 7 at the MDCA, which tells the true story of Lynda Blackmon Lowery, one of the youngest participants in the Selma to Montgomery march in Alabama in 1965 who was jailed nine times before her 15th birthday; and Enra, April 3 at SMDCAC, a Japanese group that combines martial arts, rhythmic gymnastics, juggling, classical ballet and street dance, all set to vivid digital projections.

Theatrical drama “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom” will appear Feb. 7 at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. Photo courtesy Culture Shock Miami.

Another issue Culture Shock has addressed is transportation. How does a kid who lives in Kendall get to and from a show in, say, downtown Miami?

“We introduced the notion of a second ticket for $5 for somebody of any age to accompany the teen or young adult,” Tassy-Beauvoir says. “So if Mom needs to be there with you because you’re 13, then Mom also gets a $5 ticket for herself.”

Culture Shock Miami was born in 2004 after the Knight Foundation asked the Department of Cultural Affairs to replicate the successful New York program called High 5 Tickets to the Arts. Tassy-Beauvoir says it’s worked wonders in South Florida.

“The program has sold about 120,000 tickets over the past 15 seasons,” she says. “Every year, we recruit local students to help us make marketing decisions, and some of the best feedback is directly from them, saying, ‘Without this program, I wouldn’t be willing to give something different a try.’ 

“I remember a few years back, we had a [girl] who had never attended a flamenco performance before, and she really didn’t have any interest in spending $50 to $75 for a performance that she didn’t know whether or not she would like. But by being able to spend just 5 bucks for her and $5 for her mom, they loved it. And from that point forward, she told me she always sought out flamenco performances. That’s how we know the program is making a difference.”

Go to CultureShockMiami.com for more information and the performance schedule.

Top photo: Enra, a multidisciplinary performance group from Japan, will perform April 3 at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Photo courtesy Culture Shock Miami.

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