Every so often, we’ll chat with an alum about what they do and how they got there. Today, we’re talking with executive director of Young Playwrights’ Theater, Brigitte Pribnow Moore ’05, theatre, about what it’s like to combine multiple interests and skills into one awesome career.
Name: Brigitte Pribnow Moore
Job Title: Executive Director
Employer: Young Playwrights’ Theater
Scholarships Received at UMBC: UMBC University Fellow 2001-2005
Q: Tell us a little about how you wound up at UMBC. What’s your background?
I came to UMBC from a small town in Connecticut. I knew I wanted to study theatre, and I heard that UMBC’s BFA in Acting program was a “hidden gem.” I came out for an audition and I fell in love. The year I started at UMBC, the theatre department was a small program with a brilliant faculty providing rigorous artistic training, and producing innovative, high-quality performances with fairly limited resources. It has been such a joy watching UMBC’s theatre program grow in resources and recognition over the past decade, and the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building is a beautiful addition to the campus. I am so excited to see what future theatre students create and share in that space.
Q: You’ve been able to combine multiple loves/skills into a career. How did you figure out that you wanted to do all those things, and do you have any advice for other folks who find themselves with multiple, diverse career interests?
I left UMBC with an incredible artistic education, but I also had the opportunity to explore a wealth of liberal arts courses outside my department. I spent my time at UMBC completing my theatre degree, but I also took classes that ranged from political science, to film history, to statistics, to non-western civilizations. I participated in volunteer and part-time work outside UMBC that complemented my interests, serving on political campaigns and writing and editing a weekly newsletter for a statewide advocacy organization. When I graduated, I did not have a solid career plan, but I had a rich and varied academic foundation, a network of community contacts in Baltimore and DC, and a strong sense of the impact I wanted to have on the world. I didn’t leave UMBC with a career goal. I left with a mission. And that mission carried me through almost a decade of diverse jobs that included working on union organizing campaigns, serving as the legislative director for two Maryland state delegates, and, ultimately, running Young Playwrights’ Theater.
My advice for other folks with a variety of interests: don’t put yourself in a box. Dive deep and excel in your major, but dare to take classes outside your discipline, and to engage boldly with the rich and diverse off-campus community that surrounds UMBC. Also, wait on grad school until you have worked for a few years and know exactly what, if anything, you need to learn to succeed in your career. If you’re like me, you may not be where you expected, and your evolving interests and needs may surprise you.
Q: Tell us about your career. Were there any lessons you learned, in particular, at UMBC that you carried with you into your work?
I currently serve as the Executive Director of Young Playwrights’ Theater, a DC-based nonprofit that uses the arts to inspire young people to realize the power of their own voices and stories. I feel incredibly lucky to have found myself in a career that allows me to make a living doing something I love, and my time at UMBC was instrumental in helping me to discover and pursue and my dreams. The study of theatre is, at its heart, the study of what it means to be human – to relate and connect with others and to ponder and pursue one’s place in the world. My classes taught me a great deal about the art of theatre, but they also taught me the art of empathy, critical and analytical thinking, and persuasive communication. I left UMBC with an intellectual and interpersonal toolkit that helped me in every professional task I took on – from writing an impactful speech for a political candidate, to inspiring a donor to support a cause, to effectively leveraging the talents of a professional team.
Q: Is there a particular class or professor who really inspired you?
All of them? Seriously, the UMBC theatre department employs such brilliant, talented, and caring instructors. I felt privileged to know and learn from each of them. I did have a particularly inspiring experience in a directing class I took with Christopher Owens. I learned so much about the power of good stories, and I discovered that I was happiest and most comfortable in artistic and professional roles that allowed me to direct people and resources toward a big picture vision. That class was transformational for me.
Q: What advice would you give to students considering UMBC?
Pull your application materials together and send them along. UMBC is special place with a wealth of opportunities to learn and explore with gifted, caring professors and a diverse, talented community of students. You won’t regret your decision.