Duffee Maddox ’13

Duffee Maddox, a theatre major, came to Bowling Green State University as a transfer student. “The Wolfe Center is what drove me to BGSU,” she said. While here, she found a community of lifelong friends and an approach to work that served her well throughout her career journey.  

While at BGSU, Maddox served as stage manager on department productions and as touring manager of the Treehouse Troupe, a BGSU undergraduate theatre group that performs for school children throughout northwest Ohio. She was also an active member of Theta Alpha Phi, the National Theatre Honors Society. In her senior year, she took an art history course and went to the Toledo Museum of Art to write a paper. At the time, “I was annoyed when I had to take classes that weren’t directly related to my major,” she said, “but I think my life has been an example of how that pays off.”

When she graduated, she knew she wanted to work in the arts, but recognized that the instability of contract work in the theater world was not for her. She pivoted and secured a position in a local history museum in Virginia managing their education activities.

“It was so similar to theater,” she said. “Theater is putting on a performance, but museums are putting on an exhibition or an event, and I think of those as shows.”

From there, Maddox worked in costumed historical interpretation, and as events manager at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling in Harlem, New York. When most of the staff at the museum were laid off in 2020 due to the pandemic, she got a job at the Toledo Museum of Art as the curatorial coordinator and moved back to northwest Ohio. She calls it “her dream job” and describes her role as “basically a stage manager to the curators.”

At first glance, museum curation and theater production seem different, but Maddox credits the work ethic she learned in theater at BGSU to her success in her new career. She sees direct correlations between the collaboration skills she learned during productions at BGSU and her success in her role at the Toledo Museum of Art. In theater, she said, “You just keep moving forward and taking on new projects. You go with the flow and be agile.”

Maddox has some advice for other young alumni, namely “to just keep going, don’t give up. … Keep saying yes to projects, always take the meeting, and then hopefully you’ll find fulfillment in your life.”

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Updated: 11/22/2022 01:54PM