Maggie Boyles

Headshot of Maggie Boyles

Student Spotlight | July 2014

Major: Theatre performance, with a minor in Jewish Studies

Research project: My research focuses on the stories of the first actresses of the Yiddish theatre. I've written a play and paper based on these women's stories.

Research mentors: Renee Perelmutter

Q: What surprised you about doing research?

 A: For my research I did some archival work and I was really surprised by how helpful people were to me when I was doing archival research. I know at one point I asked to speak with the photo archivist at the Center for Jewish History and she took me through the photo archives and showed me what she thought would be most relevant, whilst also chatting with me about her family and about my work. I didn't end up using the photos in my research, but her helpfulness made me much more comfortable whilst doing my research.

Q: What do you like most about your research?

A: I like that my research describes narratives of women entering an industry different than what we are usually fed in modern America and western Europe. These women's stories vary from one woman's fear of appearing on stage and what that will mean for her reputation, to women who embraced theatre and the creative possibilities of performance. Uncovering and analysing these stories was not only interesting on its own, but it also helped me understand my position and my choices as a female performer.

Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?

A: It's completely worth it. It may seem intimidating at first, but as long as you and your mentor set reasonable goals and work to achieve those goals in a systematic and timely manner, it's not too rough at all. It also provides you with great material for when you're looking to apply to graduate programmes, so that's a plus.


Q: How do you spend your time when you're not doing research?

A: When I'm not doing research I'm usually working on something creative. For this project I wrote a play based on the findings of my research, and generally a lot of research--even if not necessarily academic--goes into my creative output. I'm an actor, and being an actor requires research and critical engagement with texts, but I also like to draw and paint. So basically, when I'm not researching I'm using the fruits of my research to make something original. I also infrequently exercise, fence foil, and watch a lot of films.