Bay Area Theater

Interview: Joy Carlin, director, “Widowers’ Houses” at Aurora

Joy Carlin, noted actor and director, in conversation with host Richard Wolinsky.

A former member of ACT’s acting company and interim Artistic Director at Berkeley Rep, Joy Carlin has a noted career as both actor and director. She currently directs George Bernard Shaw’s first produced play, “Widowers’ Houses” at Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley.

The play, which focuses on housing, slum lords, urban development and the gap between rich and poor, was written in 1895 and produced three years later, and began a long and lengthy career for Shaw, recognized today as one of the greatest playwrights in the English language.

Joy Carlin has directed several plays for Aurora and A.C.T. and has acted in television and film along with theater, including a recent role in “Blue Jasmine.” Later this spring she will star in the play “Marjorie Prime” at Marin Theatre Company.

Aurora Theatre website

Joy Carlin’s biography:

Joy Carlin was born in Boston, grew up in Chicago, was graduated from the University of Chicago, attended Yale Drama School, and studied with Lee Strasberg in New York City.  An original member of Chicago’s Playwrights’ Theatre, she has appeared on Broadway with FROM THE SECOND CITY, in off-Broadway productions, with regional and summer theatres and in television and films.  From 1964-69 she was a lecturer and taught acting in the Drama Department at UC Berkeley.  Since 1969 she has been a leading actress, director and teacher with the American Conservatory Theater where she was an Associate Artistic Director from 1987 until 1992, heading up their Plays-in-Progress program (producing 5 new plays a season), and organizing community outreach activities. There she directed THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA, THE LADY’S NOT FOR BURNING, THE DOCTOR’S DILEMMA, GOLDEN BOY, MARCO MILLIONS, HAPGOOD and the premiere of Jane Anderson’s FOOD AND SHELTER, and she performed many roles, winning seventeen Bay Area Critics Circle and L.A. Dramalogue Awards for both her acting and directing.

From 1981-84 she was an Actor and Resident Director at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and served as its Interim Artistic Director from January 1983 to August 1984. She is the recipient of the 1997 Bay Area Critics Circle Barbara Bladen Porter award for continued excellence in her career as actor and director.

A few of her favorite roles have been Bananas in THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, Birdie in THE LITTLE FOXES, Mme. Ranevskaya in THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Emily Dickinson in THE BELLE OF AMHERST, Amanda in THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Enid in THE FLOATING LIGHTBULB, Lady Wishfort in THE WAY OF THE WORLD, Big Mama in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, Addie in MISSING PERSONS and Mag Folan in THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE.

Ms. Carlin has served on many panels and advisory committees, among
them the California Arts Council, Educational Theatre Association, Artists Alliance, Ashland’s OSFA Artistic Director Search Committee, Regional Vice President of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. She has also directed for The San Jose Repertory Theatre (PASSION PLAY, THE COUNTRY GIRL, DEATH OF A SALESMAN and THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG), the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, the Berkeley Stage Company, the Pacific Jewish Theatre, The Aurora Theatre, THE San Francisco Playhouse, The Jewel Theatre of Santa Cruz and the Shanghai Youth Drama Troupe where she directed YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU.

Most recently she appeared in Woody Allen’s film  BLUE JASMINE, directed WIDOWERS’ HOUSES running at TheAurora Theatre and will appear as MARJORIE PRIME at MarinTheatre Co. in May.

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