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Meet Victoria Collado of Abre Camino Collective in Coral Gables and Coconut Grove

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Collado.

Victoria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well, it all started in a small house living with my Cuban parents, grandparents, Aunt, younger brother named Victor (I named him), and two dogs in Miami. I have recently come to the conclusion that from the door inside, I lived in Luyáno and from the door outside, I lived in Miami, I went to small private schools that were run by professors and educators that used to have schools in Cuba but were exiled like many others. These schools were Jose Marti School (Nursery – 8th grade) and Brito Miami Private School (High School) and I firmly believe that these institutions are a major part of my journey. They were the place I gained my deep love for Cuba and also where I learned to put shows together. Our end of the school year graduations always were accompanied with a full dance show filled with lights, costume changes, and the whole sha-bang! Not only did I perform in them, but here is where I got my first taste at directing.

My best friend Maury and I would choreograph the dances in high school and it changed my life forever. It should also be noted that without Maury, a lot of my dreams probably wouldn’t have become a reality. We met when we were 14 years old and we’ve been rooting for each other ever since. Friendships like his and those of the ones close to me are what have always kept me going. I later when to FIU for a BFA in Theatre Performance where I worked with wonderful professors and classmates. After graduating, I spent some time in Miami before moving to New York. I lived in NYC for six years and I got to work with incredible artists in the theatre industry like John Leguizamo, Tony Taccone, Saheem Ali, Laura Savia, etc. While in New York, I got the opportunity to direct Vanessa Garcia’s short play, A Crocodiles Bite, which was part of the Sam Frech OOB Festival. When I met Vanessa, I knew I met the creative partner I had always wanted to work with. Then the adventure of directing The Amparo Experience came along and the rest is history, as they say.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think one of the struggles was finding my voice as a director. The first couple of years was a lot of experimenting and testing out all the hypothesis I had about how to do my job well. With time and interactions with other great artists, I have been able to truly define my voice to what feels true to me and picked up some tricks along the way.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Abre Camino Collective – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I co-founded Abre Camino Collective with Vanessa Garcia as a result of our work together in The Amparo Experience. We found that when we work together, we do the kind of work we’ve always wanted to do. Vanessa is a multidisciplinary writer and I am a director of Theatre and Film, and combining our expertise only makes for magical experiences. I am proud of our mission of radical storytelling and how we are always seeking the best way to tell each story. Sometimes it’s an immersive piece, at other times a film, even audio plays, but the goal is always to be true to the story and to let the truth come out. We are always seeking ways to open paths for other artists whose voice we believe in and whose stories need to be shared. Creativity is never in shortage when it comes to ACC and we hope to bring more of it into the world.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that Miami has found its own rhythm. It sways to the beat of a drummer that can only be found somewhere between Biscayne y la Calle 8. The air feels different here, driving feels different here, even joy feels different here. I had to live six years away from Miami to truly get her. As for dislikes, I guess it’s a good sign it’s taking me a minute to figure it out. If I had to say something is that I wish we sometimes knew there was something more to us than cafecito, croquetas, and south beach. I wish we truly understood the power we have of living in a truly diverse city where the “minority” is the majority and that we could be grateful for this magic that we have that other cities in this country don’t.

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