Brienan Bryant was an accomplished actress, having honed her skills within the prestigious NYU graduate acting program, at the Public Theater, The New York Shakespeare Festival, the Yale Repertory Theater and numerous television shows including Third Watch, Law & Order and Oz.
“She was also the friend that told you what nobody else would have the guts to say,” said her classmate and friend, Nadia Bowers. “She was warm and funny, an astute observer of the human condition, and she really admired bravery and risk taking, and embodied those qualities in her own work. As an actor, she was fiercely committed her craft.”
Brie valued being a working actor above all else, so her classmates wanted to honor her memory by creating an "exit scholarship" in her name exclusively for a 3rd year student in the NYU Graduate Acting program. Upon leaving graduate study, many new expenses arise as an actor crosses the bridge into their professional life, and the new Brienan Bryant Scholarship was expressly created to be used as a first investment toward an actor’s professional life.
This year’s $5,000 grant has been awarded to Ryan-James (RJ) Hatanaka, who will graduate this May. The award was granted based on need, articulation of how the money would be beneficial, commitment to their life as an actor, and being a "good citizen" of the Graduate Acting community.
“One of the tragedies of Brie’s death is that she’s no longer around to support and mentor other actors, as she was tremendously generous in that way,” said fellow classmate David Barlow, who together with Bowers headed up the fundraising efforts. “This scholarship is not only a way to keep her memory alive, but to offer support for committed actors like RJ, which would make her very proud.”
"I am humbled by the opportunity to be associated with Brienin through this award. Having spent the past three years forging long lasting bonds with my classmates, I truly appreciate the passion from which this scholarship has been created and think it is a wonderful and generous way to honor her memory," said Hatanaka.
Every member of the class of 2000 made a contribution, which included, in addition to Barlow and Bowers, Jordan Gelber, Hillary Keegin, Mahershala Ali, Danny Pino, Abigail Solomon, Drew Cortese, Maria José Garcia, Erica Tazel, Tommy Schrider, Andre Rishi, Robert Wu, Carson Elrod and Shaula Chambliss. Barlow and Bowers, also reached out to the larger community who had known Bryant. They managed to raise $25,630 over the course of a few months. They will award $5,000 to a student for the next six years. If more money is raised, the awards will be extended.
To learn more about the Breinan Bryant Bridge Scholarship, or to make a contribution, contact Ann Mathews at NYU's Graduate Acting Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.