Meet Colleen Cherry!
Born in Seminole, Colleen has seen St. Pete grow from a sleepy town to the vibrant city it is now. Colleen attended Gibbs High through the Pinellas County Center for the Arts Magnet program. She and her classmates performed and produced their own work at venues like the Palladium Theater and the Studio@620. After spending a year studying theater in New York, she moved back to Florida & graduated from the University of Tampa with a degree Performing Arts. She planned on going back to New York but saw that St. Pete had become a community that encourages the arts and theater. “I love how supportive the community is of the arts & how much St. Pete has grown over the years. I have made a career in the arts in DTSP. I’ve been able to perform and teach steadily with local theater companies, worked in administration at the Morean Arts Center and American Stage, and produced a lot of my own arts events and productions. If you have a wacky idea, there are people in the community that will support it & pay money to see it.”
Colleen performs locally and around the country with her musical improv team Definitely Not Murderers and is in a band called The Florida Bjorkestra that has a residency at The Palladium where they’ve sold out multiple times.
The Florida Bjorkestra is the brainchild of Jeremy Douglass and started as a Bjork cover band that grew into covers of other well known musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie. There is now an annual Buffy the Vampire Slayer festival featuring appearances by the cult TV show’s stars. The next Buffyfest is coming up April 11, 2020 and you can see Colleen onstage next at American Stage’s Improv Night on January 11th.
Thanks for sitting down with me Colleen!
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I was four years old and my mom signed me up for acting classes. She saw that I was that kid that dressed up in costumes around the house and was always singing and she thought that theatre would be fun for me. I have had a lot of different jobs along the way but I am a performer at heart!”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DTSP, and what do you love there?
A: “Bodega is my favorite & I love the Lechon Platos (mojo Pork with grilled onions). I eat there all the time. The servings are so large I can get two meals from one item.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in DTSP?
A: “I have lived here my whole life & have worked in DTSP for the past five years. DTSP has a small community vibe & I love running into people I know when I am out running errands or getting coffee.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in DTSP?
A: “ I know A LOT but I’d say Paul Wilborn. He is the Executive Director of the Palladium as well as an awesome performer and journalist. I have had so many interesting conversations with him. He is a huge supporter of the local arts scene and always says yes to any crazy idea Jeremy and I have for the Florida Bjorkestra.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “I would love to go to Dublin, Ireland. My best friend is finishing her masters degree there & the last time I visited, I was only able to spend 48 hours checking the city out. I would like to go back & spend a chunk of time there & get to know the city better.”
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “My favorite movie is Labyrinth with David Bowie & the first movie I saw in a theater is the Lion King. “
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Be kind to each other. People are people even if you don’t share the same ideas or beliefs.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I would love to perform abroad. This past year I have been performing with our Improv team around the country at different festivals – we’re going to Miami and New York in the next few months! They have amazing Improv festivals in other parts of the world too. Perhaps in Australia as we were accepted to perform there next summer or bring something to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Performing in the Edinburgh Fringe festival is a definite bucket list!”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I love musicals, David Bowie and The Beatles. Three bands that I would love to see is David Bowie (of course), The Beatles (I’ve seen Paul and Ringo!) and lastly Queen. I’m still not over Bowie passing away in 2016.”
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about DTSP?
A: “The Globe. It used to be located on 1st Ave N next to where St. Pete Brewing Company is now located. It was the coolest place. It attracted artists & it was a safe place for the weird kids to go & hang out. It’s funny, all of St. Pete is like that now. The weird kids took over all of St. Pete.”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in DTSP would you have lunch?
A: “I would love for Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) to come to Buffyfest – that’s in my five year plan! I would love for him to see the cool things that we have done with the festival. People are super connected to the show and it has changed some people’s lives. I would love to have lunch with him at Nitally’s – it’s my favorite Thai/Mexican fusion restaurant with a cool vibe.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about DTSP?
A: “I love American Stage in the Park! It’s right here in Demens Landing. It is something I grew up attending & then I ended up working for the theatre company. It is put on in the springtime, outdoors in the park. American Stage builds an outdoor theatre and produces a large Broadway style production for over 1000 people to enjoy every night. It is all local & a total community event. It’s very cool to see the community come out & see & support theatre & become more aware of theatre. It has a very cool energy. St. Pete Pride is also very special event I love to go to every year.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: “Hopefully in the next year or so, owning a home here in St. Pete. I just started a new job as the Volunteer Program Manager at SPCA Tampa Bay which I love. I dogsit as a side hustle and my passion for animals equals my love of the arts so this new career step is kind of perfect – and allows me to continue performing and teaching. I definitely want to own a home & adopt a dog soon.”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
“I can be super shy sometimes! A lot of people know me as outgoing and most times I am but sometimes I can be socially awkward & quiet.”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Family, roots and art.”
Q: Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of DTSP?
A: “Laura Spencer. We have been friends since 6th grade & she has been killing it in the visual arts circle here. She was one of the weird kids I hung out with who took over DTSP.”
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: “I would pick Gary Oldman. I love him so much. He is so talented. He is such a dynamic actor & has played so many great roles.”
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “Ohh…..I could use driver definitely. It would save me a lot of money on Lyft.”
The Faces of Downtown St. Pete was created to showcase the diverse community we live in & the wonderful people that make it so special. If you would like to nominate someone interesting for this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org