When I was a sophomore in high school, I was painfully shy. I was an excellent student – I got good grades on papers and tests – but I can only remember half a dozen times I voluntarily raised my hand in class.
One day after school, my mother was late picking me up. Really late. While I sat waiting for her in the school lobby, I noticed a long line of students in front of the auditorium. I was curious about the line, but I didn’t want to ask any of the students what they were waiting for (I was shy, remember). On a whim, I decided to wait in the line until my mom arrived.
Ten minutes later, I found myself on stage, script in hand, reading an audition monologue for the role of Mrs. Malaprop in the Guilford High School production of The Rivals. I don’t know what came over me. This was the precise brand of social risk-taking that usually paralyzed me, but somehow, on this day, on this stage, it was easy to find my voice. And it was a big voice.
My mom picked me up (eventually). And I got the part!
There was no going back after that day. I had discovered myself through theater – a confident, thoughtful, outspoken self with big ideas and dreams. In theater, I discovered a passion that challenged me, and I pursued this passion throughout high school and then through the BFA program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Through each step in my educational journey, theater not only taught me how to express myself with confidence, it taught me empathy and introspection, and demonstrated how sharing stories can inspire change in hearts and communities.
I have carried these lessons with me throughout my educational and professional career – not only in my theater work, but in my work and study in politics, grassroots advocacy, nonprofit management and communications. I’ve learned that understanding and caring for people, and tapping into the power of stories, are pretty useful tools for positive social change.
As the Development Director at YPT, I feel pretty lucky to have the opportunity to help other young people discover the power and value of their voices through theater. After all, we’re not working at YPT to train the next generation of famous playwrights and performers. We’re working to inspire the next generation of critical thinkers, innovators and dreamers. And that matters.
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Brigitte Pribnow Moore
YPT Development Director