Joya’s Biography

Full Spectrum Improvisation, Storytelling & Solo Performance classes taught by master teacher, Joya Cory, in Marin County and Berkeley, CA

Joya Cory

Joya’s Biography

Joya Cory has been creating original performance work since 1971, when she co-founded MOTION : The Women’s Performing Collective with Suzanne Helmuth and Nina Wise, performing improvised physical theatre between 1971 and 1978, as well as performing with Anna Halprin’s Dancer’s Workshop, The Street Dream People, Terry Sendgraff and Jani Novak. In 1978 Joya began writing, creating CLARA, CLARA with Nina Wise and Lauren Elder, HARVEY and JENESE with Fred Curchak, as well as a solo piece, JUGGLING and OTHER SECRETS, which was featured at the National Festival of Women’s Theatre, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and at the Marin Community Playhouse. Joya directed Carol Leigh’s THE ADVENTURES of SCARLOT HARLOT, Susan Banyas’s TALL WHEAT, Nina Wise and Lauren Elder’s MIRACLE MILE, several dance/theatre pieces by Helen Dannenberg & Michelle Larson, WITH VISION CONVICTION and a VOICE for People Speaking Theatre, THE ACE and A WOMAN’S CRIME – A MAN’S DUTY for Talespinners Productions, THE BALLAD of DOC HAY by Cherylene Lee, David Roche and Terri Tate’s FACING THE HOLIDAYS and IN SEARCH OF MY CLITORIS by Sia Amma.

With Lauren Elder, Joya co-wrote and co-directed OFF LIMITS, which won the Bay Guardian’s 10 Best Theatre list for 1989. In 1992 -93 Joya co-wrote, and performed in LOVE (Sic) in collaboration with Deborah Slater and Helen Dannenberg, performed at STUDIO 210 in San Francisco, directed by Brenda Berlin and at Marin Theatre Company Studio Theatre, in Mill Valley, directed by Mary Forcade. Between 1996-2010 Joya wrote and performed her solo pieces IRMA AT THE MOVIES, BILE, ANNIVERSARY WALTZ, THE DALAI LAMA DOESN’T NEED A FACE LIFT & performed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SHOWGIRL IN THE WORLD written by Janet Johnstone & Joya. She collaborated with Ron Jones on the creation and performance of SIX KINDS of LOVE and performed as a Storyteller for children at Zeum, Yerba Buena Center. 2008-2011, she developed and directed Craig’s Landry’s solo piece, FROZEN , Sarah Abbey’s THE WEIGHT GAME and Alison Whitaker’s VITAL SIGNS.

Joya won the 2010 BEST OF FRINGE award at the San Francisco Fringe Festival for her solo work. She has performed improvisational theatre; solo and with various partners, at festivals in many locations and produces, directs and performs FULL SPECTRUM IMPROVISATION with LUCKY DOG THEATRE, which she founded in 1993.

As an actor, Joya has performed with:

San Francisco Repertory Theatre, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival under the direction of Robert Woodruff, Julie Hebert and Norah Holmgren, Ross Valley Theatre, Venue Nine, Theatre Artists of Marin under the direction of Richard Rossi, The Marsh, Exit Theatre, Oakland Public Theatre, Z Space Studio & Woman’s Will, among other venues, as well as acting in several independent films.


Since 1972 Joya has taught Movement, Improvisational Theatre, Storytelling, Solo Performance and Acting to both adults and children. She has taught at De Young Museum Art School, Antioch University/West, J.F.K University, Studio 210, San Rafael Community Center, Marin Horizon School, Petersburg High School (Alaska), Performing Arts Workshop San Francisco and Marin Theatre Company . She taught workshops at San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco State University, Institute For Transpersonal Psychology, University of San Francisco and Academy of Art University. She has taught children in several schools through LEAP. Starting with Artists in Social Institiutions grants from the California Arts Council, Joya led classes in movement and improvisation for clients in 2 alcohol/drug addiction recovery centers over a 10 year period. She coaches individuals for public speaking and performance and leads team-building workshops for groups. Joya continues to teach FULL SPECTRUM IMPROVISATION, a form she developed.

Education and Training:

She holds a B.A. in theater arts from Antioch University & has done graduate work at San Francisco State University.

Joya danced from childhood, and in 1969-70 studied for 2 years in Anna Halprin’s Full Time Apprentice Program as well as studying movement and dance with John Graham, Mary Overlie, James Tyler and others, and physical comedy with Bill Irwin. She has studied Creative Postural Alignment, sensory awareness and Alexander technique. She studied acting with Joseph Chaikin, Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Laboratory Theatre, Jean Shelton, John Argue and Richard Seyd and Acting for the Camera with Abigail Van Alyn & Terry Lamb, Improvisation with Scott Beach and Larry Hankin at THE COMMITTEE, Keith Johnstone, Augusto Boal and many others. She studied voice with Roy Hart Theatre, Linklater technique with Tony Maher and singing with various teachers.

She has taken courses in Drama Therapy, studies Buddhist meditation, and continues to explore improvisational theatre as an art form and as a means to psychological and spiritual growth and healing.

Since 2004, Joya has been a serious student of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) with trainer, John Kinyon and other teachers. She and NVC trainer, Newt Bailey, have developed and taught PLAYING, FIGHTING and PLAY-FIGHTING workshops, which teach NVC skills and principles through Improvisation structures. She is currently working on a “how-to” book about FULL SPECTRUM IMPROVISATION.

Joya has been a member of the Z SPACE STUDIO’S Artist’s Development Lab since 1995, where she developed her solo peices. Her work has been recognized with grants from Zellerbach Family Fund, San Francisco Foundation, Grants For the Arts (S.F. Hotel Tax Fund), Djerrasi Foundation Artist in Residence Program and two grants from the California State Arts Council.

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