Media Contact:
Cheryl Mizell
cmizell@miamidade.gov
305-638-6771

The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center Presents Obie Award-Winning Play Venus, Based on the True Life Story of an Exploited South African Woman

Runs January 11TH - February 5TH

MIAMI (January 05, 2017)

The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (AHCAC) presents the Obie award-winning play Venus, written by Suzan-Lori Parks, a recipient of a Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize -- the first ever awarded to an African-American female playwright for Drama – and an Obie Award for Venus. The play opens on January 11, 2017 and runs for four weekends through February 5, 2017 at the Center’s Wendell A. Narcisse Performing Arts Theater, 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33142. The first two shows are held on Wednesday January 11th and Thursday, January 12th at 7:30 p.m.; the remaining performances are held on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 4:30 p.m.  

Venus is a stage play inspired by the true life story of Sara “Saartjie” (pronounced Sar-key) Baartman, a young South African woman who was paraded throughout Europe like a circus animal and required to strip and expose herself to audiences. Venus offers an avante garde account of Sara’s life abroad in the 19th century after she was sold to the owner of a sideshow and given the stage name "The Hottentot Venus." The play intertwines dramatic forms to examine ethics, stereotypes and the exploitation of women.

The play is a Florida premiere for Rachel Finley, the director of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center’s production and a proud South Florida native who earned her BFA at the world renowned Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and is currently pursuing her MFA at Florida Atlantic University.  Rachel first pitched her vision for this production 15 years ago and explains, “I was in awe of how this story from 200 years ago draws so many parallels to the ways in which women are fetishized and exploited today.”

Venus includes semi-nude scenes making it a show for mature audiences. Pre-sold or advance tickets can be purchased at the Center for $25.00 (cash or check only). Tickets purchased at the door are $30.00 (cash or check only). Tickets for students and seniors are $20.00. For group rates or more information about Venus, call or visit the AHCAC at (305) 638-6771; 6161 NW 22nd Avenue Miami, FL 33142. Business hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  

As an added bonus, theater attendees are also invited to view Resurrecting Venus: The Cycle Continues, an accompanying visual art exhibition presented in the adjacent Amadlozi Gallery at the AHCAC. It addresses the oppression and exploitation of women throughout history and in modern times with works by Sonia Baez-Hernandez, Niki Lopez, Allison Kotzig, Cat Del Buono, Morel Doucet, Carol-Anne McFarlane, Chire Oliver, Shiobann Amisial, Richard Wright and Nadine Anderson Cheng curated by Niki Lopez founder of What’s Your Elephant -- a movement using the arts to create provocative conversations around the unspoken. Resurrecting Venus: The Cycle Continues will open on January 11th at 6:15 p.m. preceding the play Venus and can be viewed at The Amadlozi Gallery from January 11th to February 11th from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. daily. Entrance to The Amadlozi Gallery is free.

For more information about the AHCAC, please visit www.ahcacmiami.org.

Follow us on social media using #Venus, #AHCAC and @ahcacmiami.

About the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center

Part of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Center was founded in 1975 to serve as the nesting ground for emerging talent in the performing and visual arts in the heart of Liberty City. By providing quality instruction, inspiration and encouragement to young people within the community, the Center has fulfilled its mission for almost 40 years, and everyday creates a means for youth to discover their artistic talents. We are located at 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33142. Visit us online at www.ahcacmiami.org and follow us on social media @ahcacmiami and #AHCAC. It is a policy of Miami-Dade County to comply with all of the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act. The facility is accessible. To request materials in an accessible format and or/accommodation to attend an event at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, please contact Gloria Wilkins at 305-638-6771 or ahcac@miamidade.gov, at least five days in advance to initiate your request. TTY users may also call 711 (Florida Relay Service).  
                               
About the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs

The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council develop cultural excellence, diversity and participation throughout Miami-Dade County by strategic creating and promoting opportunities for artists and cultural organizations, and our residents and visitors who are their audiences. The Department directs the Art in Public Places program and serves its board, the Art in Public Places Trust, commissioning, curating, maintaining and promoting the County’s art collection. The Department also manages, programs and operates the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, a campus of state-of-the-art cultural facilities in Cutler Bay, as well as Miami-Dade County Auditorium, Joseph Caleb Auditorium and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, all dedicated to presenting and supporting excellence in the arts for the entire community. Through staff, board and programmatic resources, the Department, the Council and the Trust promote, coordinate and support Miami-Dade County’s more than 1,000 not-for-profit cultural organizations as well as thousands of resident artists through grants, technical assistance, public information and interactive community planning. The Department receives funding through the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, The Children’s Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Other support and services are provided by TicketWeb for the