Friends and Neighbors

GableStage raising money to help teens see Shakespeare play


Special to The Miami Herald

Imagine young students seeing a play for the first time. Imagine that play is a modern version of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

Now, imagine yourself helping those students, many of them disadvantaged, have that first theatrical experience.

The new production of Antony and Cleopatra, adapted and directed by Miami’s own playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, is about to make its U.S. debut here before leaving for New York.

The play is a co-production of GableStage, New York's Public Theatre, and London's Royal Shakespeare Company and will share a cast and crew. Performances start in January at the Miami Beach Colony Theatre.

But GableStage needs help now to share this groundbreaking version of Shakespeare. To do that it has turned to a Kickstarter campaign.

The deadline to raise at least $55,000 is only 15 days away. The campaign went online just before Thanksgiving and so far, generous 55 backers have pledged $12,326.

Among the performances planned are 16 free shows for Miami-Dade Public School students. With 400 students in attendance at each show, that’s over 6,000 public school kids reached. Many have never seen a play before.

The minimum Kickstarter pledge is $1 and in this time of giving, few greater gifts come to mind than bringing the theater experience to young people. GableStage was also awarded a Knight Foundation grant for the production.

"Getting the chance to see a show from the Royal Shakespeare Company and Public Theater is unprecedented in Miami history," said Alexandra Daly, producer of the Kickstarter campaign for GableStage.

She said the project will be funded only if at least $55,000 is pledged by Dec. 21 at 8:25 a.m.

"And, it's all or nothing. If we raise $54,999 we don't get a penny. It's a very important project that needs awareness, and quickly," Daly said.

Named "the  crowd-sorceress" by a New York-based publication, Daly recently brought her fundraising-for-the-arts skills back to Miami where she grew up. She served recently as a panelist at the New York Film Festival and will speak about crowd-funding for the Knight Foundation next year.

"I see Miami at a turning point in the arts and want to help artists bring their projects to life," Daly said.

Help contribute to this worthy theater cause by going to

At the site you can also see video about the production’s history, photos of Antony and Cleopatra rehearsals, and learn about the GableStage mission to bring to Miami innovative productions that confront today's issues and ideas.


Ninety students at Epiphany Catholic School took on the responsibilities of management and support crews at a recent hurricane emergency exercise held at the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center in Doral.

The special exercise was developed by StormZone, a free online hurricane science education and preparedness program that is offered to public and private schools.

The American Red Cross, CBS4’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors, and the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University are sponsors of StormZone. The program helps students understand how important it is to prepare in advance. Since 2006, StormZone has been taught in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County schools throughout hurricane season that ended Nov. 30.

The Epiphany students practiced procedures under the titles Fire-Fighting, Transportation, Law Enforcement, Urban Search and Rescue, Health and Medical, Food and Water, and Mass Care to ensure that residents were safe before, during and after a computerized approaching storm called Patricia.

Throughout the exercise, student meteorologists Katerina Molina, Alicia Pagliery and Alejandro Quevedo also practiced briefing student reporters to keep the public aware of Patricia’s whereabouts and strength.

All the while the students monitored the storm through HURREVAC computer images. They "handled" fires, gas spills, frustrated residents, and everything else that does and can happen in a hurricane emergency.

Other students heavily involved were "Mayor" Patrick Cahill, and "Public Information Officers" Emily Salado and Antonella Cardenal.

Before the exercise, Aimee B. Bojorquez, Emergency Management Coordinator at the Office of Emergency Management, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, welcomed the students.

"The StormZone Program provides a realistic disaster scenario for students to role play leadership positions and learn how government manages disasters in a truly collaborative partnership," she said.

At the end of the intense exercise, Student Mayor Cahill told a gathering of student reporters that all went well. The first question asked was, "Were any lives lost?"

"No" said a relieved Cahill.

Bay Proby, StormZone director, said the classroom experience "lets students learn about the importance of individual responsibility, organizational collaboration and project management skills when confronted with a hurricane."

"Through this interactive exercise, students learn about emergency management, make the decisions necessary to respond to a disaster in their community and develop a recovery plan," Proby said.

For more information about StormZone, visit

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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