Many of us spend countless years exploring and trying to discover our particular passions, in search of a career that will keep us excited and make us proud. For Seminole State College of Florida alumna Nadia Garzon, that quest was a breeze. Since kindergarten, she knew that narrating, singing and dancing brought her pride and joy – but above all, she loved to act.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Garzon enrolled in the acting academy, Academia Charlot, at age 16,while continuing her traditional schooling. There, she was part of several theatrical productions, and she received early comprehensive acting training that helped mold her into the dynamic, professional performer she is today
“I had no doubt that acting and theater were my passions,” says Garzon. “I was the youngest at this academy and according to my peers, even more dedicated and focused than people 10 years or more older than me. This was an amazing experience that changed my life.”
After completing her studies in Colombia, where she had already done her first professional play at the National Theater La Castellana, Garzon moved to the United States and enrolled at Seminole State in 1999. At the time, the nonprofit professional theater company, the Orlando Theatre Project, operated at Seminole State, which allowed her to harness more of her professional skills by taking classes and observing some of the most seasoned actors and actresses in town.
“Seminole State gave me my first experience doing theater after moving from Colombia; the experience was sincerely amazing.”
- Nadia Garzon
“Seminole State gave me my first experience doing theater after moving from Colombia; the experience was sincerely amazing,” says Garzon. “The transition was hard, moving to a new country and leaving everything behind, but the staff and faculty at Seminole State were always so supportive. I developed strong ties with most of them and will always remember them fondly.”
After graduating from Seminole State, Garzon went on to the University of Central Florida, where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in Theatre and in Sociology. She then earned her Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Liberal Studies from Rollins College. In addition, Garzon received Improv training at SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando, where she participated as an improviser for SAK’s GenS and Improv Español, for several years.
Garzon’s professional career has been far-reaching. She has worked, in various capacities of performing arts and entertainment for nearly 20 years, in many arenas. Her artistic experiences include performing on a Disney tour, where she was on live television and radio every day; serving as spokesperson for Univision; doing voice-talent work, including dubbing for television and spots for radio and TV; and audiobook recording for the Library of Congress. She also toured the country doing children's puppet theater and worked with theater for social change in several parts of the world, including Brazil, Mexico and Central America, where she worked on a United Nations' project that used theater and community art to fight violence against women. She is also a professor of humanities and theater at Rollins College and Valencia College.
Garzon returned to Seminole State this fall, as director of the Seminole State College Center for Fine and Performing Arts’ production of “The House of Bernarda Alba.” The play, which opens Nov. 10, is an English translation, and will be offered entirely in Spanish at the Nov. 12 performance at 2 p.m. and the Nov. 18 performance at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are available for purchase online or through the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Theatre Box Office (building G) on the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
“This is my first time directing at Seminole State,” says Garzon. “I was thrilled especially knowing that this would be the first time The College would have a full production in Spanish.”
As an activist and artist, Garzon considers the performing arts crucial in the fight for equality and justice for all people. Through her work and the roles she takes, she believes, the arts can effectively be used to educate, and make political and social statements.
“I am very interested in decolonization through arts, especially theater,” says Garzon. “This is why my work with theater for social change has revolved around theater of the oppressed techniques, and why I especially focus on Latin American theater.”
Garzon brings a wealth of experience to Seminole State’s production of “The House of Bernarda Alba,” having directed several productions, including “Some Bunny Special,” “Bully Busters,” “BSI: Bully Scene Investigators,” “A Good Day for Pancake,” “Soltera Pa’ Casarse” and “The Sin Eater.”
She has also participated in the Orlando International Fringe Festival, the Orlando Latin American Film & Heritage Festival, the Target Family Theater Festival and ArtsFest. To learn more about Garzon and her work, visit nadiagarzon.com.
Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.
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