Northwestern Magazine
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Aaron Mays

Voice of the Playwright

Over the course of his Northwestern years, Aaron Mays infiltrated nearly every aspect of the student arts scene. The communication studies major and Asian American studies minor from Buffalo, N.Y., reviewed shows for the entertainment section of the Daily Northwestern, wrote for campus publications BlackBoard and NuAsian and performed with the NAYO Dance Ensemble and NU Bhangra Team.

But his greatest contribution was the three original plays he staged at Northwestern, two of which he directed. His plays’ gritty social commentary is largely informed by his experiences. Once a week he volunteers at a Chicago juvenile detention center, where he leads the 12- to 17-year-old detainees in prayer and Bible study.

When he’s not involved with a project or in the library, where he says he lived for five days during fall quarter, Mays looks to unwind with “good conversation, good food and good people.”

After graduation Mays has an offer for a full-time summer internship in the Chicago office of one of the largest global public relations firms. In the meantime he’s considering several different avenues — among them ministry work and a unique arts-journalism graduate degree. But Mays’ greatest aspiration may be Broadway. “[I hope that] the different people that I encounter, whether an audience member or an actor, that what they’re reading or performing or listening to speaks to their condition,” he says. “I don’t ever want to write something that’s trite or lacks substance. I want it to have a real voice that people will eventually hear.”

— Robert Brenner (J07)

Photo by Bill Arsenault