Joy Cunningham knows that theatre saves lives. She’s been creating original theatre for 20 years and working with young people all her life. She also knows folks want to have fun so her one-woman shows and workshops for youth are fun and funny.
Joy is a one-of-a-kind package: a professional touring artist and an experienced and passionate teacher, certified in both language arts and social studies. As a performer, Joy has traveled to the ends of the earth. To name a few in Texas, there are Canadian, Euless, Eagle Pass, Silsbee, Spicewood, Laredo, Grand Prairie and so forth. So Joy will bring her Theatre to Go to wherever you are! As a teacher, Joy knows the classroom and can talk TEKS and TAKS. She creates energetic activities and workshops for schools and communities that can wake students up both to themselves and the world.
Joy has worked as an actor, singer, director, producer, writer, manager, and teacher across the country. An Austin talent agent dubbed Joy a “self-contained theatrical unit.” She has played over 60 stage roles, and done film, commercials, print and voiceover work. You can see her in the feature film Late Bloomers. Joy has toured the country to critical and audience acclaim with her award-winning original work, Goin’ to Georgia, The CowPattys, and In the West. In the West played the Kennedy Arts Center and was later made into a film for HBO. Goin’ to Georgia was chosen for the 2002 and 2006 Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) Touring Arts Conference showcases, as well as for the 2000 Southern Arts Exchange video showcase. Her work as a writer and actress has received numerous awards and nominations.
Joy was the inspiration for The Girl Project, in which girls created original theatre based on their life stories. The Girl Project sparked such life changes for girls and so moved audience members that it inspired similar programs, and even garnered national attention from psychologist and best-selling author Carol Gilligan. Joy continues to direct these life-changing workshops with all youth, both girls and boys, in schools and communities across Texas.
Joy is a TCA and Mid-America Arts Alliance Touring Artist, and a certified teaching artist, trainer, and coach for the Start with the Arts (SWTA) program of VSA Arts of Texas. Joy travels across the state of Texas, training public school teachers how to incorporate the arts into the classroom. She assisted in aligning SWTA with TEKS, and created district-aligned yearly lesson plans for the Austin and Ysleta school districts. As a director, Joy has been awarded grants from TCA as well as the City of Austin Cultural Contracts program and as a teacher/director, has been a National Endowment for the Arts Partner Artist..
Joy has been called “one of the most mature and talented human resources we have in Texas.” (Deborah Hay, dancer and choreographer)