Bri Ng Schwartz is a facilitator and curator of artistic community engagement programming based in Brooklyn, NY. She is passionate about creating programs, performances and digital spaces for and by intersectional communities, working with groups such as the National Queer Theater, New York Theater Workshop and Theater Communications Group. Her future goals include getting a PhD in Performance Studies and teaching university-level classes in Applied Theater. Read on to learn more about Bri and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Bri Ng Schwartz
Heritage: Half Chinese, Half White (I use the blanket statement of “white” because it’s a whole lot of things and most of it is unknown)
Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
Nothing at the moment besides my full-time job as Outreach Associate at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and Administrative Assistant at Hapa Mag!
What are some of your favorite credits/projects?
Community Programs Coordinator for National Queer Theater’s Criminal Queerness Festival; Founder/Producer of Club 2350: Sex Positivity Showcase & Celebration, in partnership with Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Fail! I think we’re taught so much, especially in the arts, that we should avoid failure when in reality, these are the moments we learn from the most.
How did you get your start?
Community theater at the age of 11! I was a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you’d like to share?
Getting to speak at Andre De Shields on a panel I co-facilitated for New York Theater Workshop. What an icon!
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Getting over the imposter syndrome I have when I enter new spaces. It takes me awhile to warm up to people sometimes, especially if I admire their work or if they intimidate me.
Do you have any organizations or non profits you work with you’d like to highlight?
National Queer Theater! They bridge the gap between theater and advocacy in their work that highlights BIPOC & Immigrant voices in the LGBTQ+ community. I have met some of the most kind and inspirational artists & humans through that network.
Who do you admire?
The ways that Jeremy O. Harris has bridged the gap between theater, media & meme-ry is really inspiring. He’s hilarious but also doesn’t hold back on calling out the bullsh*t in our industry. I aspire to have that kind of power. Lauren Yee’s work also really hits home, and whenever I see a play of hers I can feel it in my bones.
On a more personal level, Elena Chang of Theatre Communications Group has been such an advocate for me since I relocated to New York, I truly want to be her when I grow up! I also consider Gaven Trinidad, Community Engagement Associate at New York Theater Workshop to be my theater older brother.
Do you have any mentors?
Coya Paz, who was the head of my department at The Theatre School at DePaul University and the artistic director of Free Street Theatre, where I spend most of my time in my undergrad. Coya really taught me what it means to truly work alongside with communities to make change and what it means to advocate for myself.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I didn’t have much of a direction before I got into the arts. I tried a lot of activities as a kid, but nothing stuck like singing and theater. I did want to be a Car Washer when I was 4, and then a Marine Biologist when I was 10. Loved water like a true Cancer.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between shows to pay the bills?
I temped at the Potbelly Headquarters in Chicago! The office looks like the inside of a Potbelly Restaurant and I logged old invoices from 2012. I also was a TodayTix ticket agent before COVID.
If you come from parents that aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?
My dad’s addictive personality for sure. When he gets infatuated with a hobby or activity, it’s all he can think about and do.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Kindness. Kindness can easily be taken advantage of, especially as a woman. While I’ve definitely experienced that, it also has allowed me to make real human connections outside of the work I do with people.
More practically, my training as a dramaturg and facilitator has helped me think about everything critically and to communicate my ideas to the smallest and largest groups.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Being invited to facilitate Theater Communications Group’s LGBTQ+ Affinity Space at their annual conference. To lead a space with LGBTQ+ artists across the country in the session was such an honor.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I want to get my PhD in Performance Studies, to serve in a leadership role in diversity, equality and inclusion for an arts organization and teach applied theater at a university level. I also want to learn how to make my own Cha Siu Baos.😂
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
Publishing my article, “Acknowledging Impact, Regardless of Intent” through HowlRound. In writing that article, I really came to terms with the ways my mixed race identity affects my work, my relationships and my whole life.
To find out more about Bri, please visit her at:
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