Joy Nesbitt is a theatrical director and neo-soul artist originally from Dallas, Texas. In her art, Joy is inspired and motivated by stories of Black Femininity and the destruction of oppression in today's society. She draws from her experiences as a Black woman constantly having to reaffirm her identity to create acoustic soul music and meaningful theater that explores emotion and authenticity. As an artist, she leads by example for Black Femmes to re-inhabit their identities and live unapologetically in themselves, and she invites non-Black individuals to connect to these journeys as well.
Throughout her life, Joy has been lucky to be mentored by greats like Esperanza Spalding, Stew, Vijay Iyer, Annabelle Comyn, and Schele Williams. Additionally, she was honored to be featured in Alicia Keys' Masterclass.com series on songwriting, where they workshopped her song, "Echo."
Joy is a 2021 recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts from Harvard University for the sum of her artistic activities as a student. She has also been a member of two inaugural artistic mentor programs, including She Is The Music's Connect TogetHER program as a songwriting mentee as well as Black Theater United's BIPOC Early Career Theater-maker Program at The Williamstown Theater Festival 2021.
Joy has released two musical projects, ...Another Day in Paradise... (2019) and Atlas Rising (2021), and has directed and music directed multiple full-length productions in Dublin, Ireland as well as Cambridge, MA, USA. As an early career multi-hyphenate artist, Joy continues to be a voice and leader, a picture of what it means to be unapologetically Black.
Residencies + Fellowships
Writer in Development
Production Management Theater-Maker
SEEDS Apprenticeship Program
Rough Magic Theatre Company
Rachel Baptiste Programme
Smock Alley Theatre
BIPOC Early Career Theater-Makers Program
Black Theater United at The Williamstown Theater Festival
Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts
Recognizes the Harvard senior with the most outstanding artistic talent and achievement in the composition or performance of film music, drama, dance, or visual arts
Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights Senior Thesis Prize
Recognizes projects that contribute to current scholarly discourses about ethnicity, migration, indigeneity, race, and/or rights
The Lir Academy of Dramatic Arts
Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre Directing
Received the George J. Mitchell Scholarship from the US Ireland Alliance
A.B. in Social Anthropology and Music
Secondary Field in Theater, Dance, and Media
Graduated with Highest Honors