CofC Logo

Joy Vandervort-Cobb

Associate Professor

Address: Room 302, Cato Center for the Arts

Joy Vandervort-Cobb, currently the Associate Professor of African American Theatre and Performance at the College of Charleston, began her career in theatre more than 40 years ago as an actress with the Freedom Theatre in upstate New York. Most recently, Joy was seen in the award winning epic, FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, Parts 1, 2, and 3 as Odd-see and perhaps her favorite works, Carole, in David Lee Nelson’s A SUDDEN SPONTANEOUS EVENT and in the one-woman/16 character show called NO CHILD done for Piccolo Spoleto 2015 and produced by PURE Theatre where she has been a Core Ensemble Member since 2012.

Her self-created MOMENTS OF JOY, a one woman show based on her life and experiences as a parent, wife, teacher, and new Christian, has played to great reception from audiences at Piccolo Spoleto and in an invited run in Baton Rouge, LA, at Louisiana State University. Nominated for Best Actress for the Charleston Theatre Awards for her role as the hotel maid with an attitude and a secret, Camae, in THE MOUNTAINTOP, Joy traveled throughout the state of SC on a grant awarded to PURE Theatre to take live, professional theatre to venues throughout SC that normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to see live theatre. With PURE Theatre, Vandervort-Cobb has also done Christopher Durang’s play VANYA, SONIA, SASHA, AND SPIKE and Lucas Hnath’s THE CHRISTIANS. Other roles include Polonius in Shakespeare’s HAMLET; the Soothsayer in ANTONY & CLEOPATRA - both for the Shakespeare Project in residence at the College of Charleston; William in Kenneth Lonnergan’s LOBBY HERO for the Stella di Domani Festival during Spoleto in 2008, Hecabe in Euripdes’ THE TROJAN WOMEN on the mainstage at the College of Charleston; in a V-DAY Celebration of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, the melancholy Jaques in AS YOU LIKE IT and Prospero in THE TEMPEST. On television, she was seen multiple times in the very popular Lifetime Channel/Touchstone Television series ARMY WIVES, in the CBS Emmy winning THE INSPECTORS, a beleaguered driver in a Savannah Auto Mile commercial and a very lucky homeowner in a national H.U.D. commercial (with her daughter, Jaymie). Additionally, as a voice actor, Ms. Vandervort-Cobb voiced part of the Muhammad Ali Birthday Celebration 2012 for ESPN and NBC, the EMMY AWARD winning video documentary “Where Do We Go From Here?...the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King,” and should you visit the new and improved US CAPITOL Building Tour or the Gettysburg Visitors Center your tour will be guided by the voice of Ms. Vandervort-Cobb. In Philadelphia, Joy’s voice will be found narrating your experience through the Museum of the American Revolution.

Along with having performed internationally, Joy has had her work as a director showcased internationally, as well. Through her work with Festival Theatre USA, Ms. Vandervort-Cobb’s work was seen at the Edinburgh Arts Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and many of her shows have toured throughout the US and Canada. Directing credits include national tours of Jackie, Vi, & Lena; My Soul is a Witness; Black Broadway; MAHALIA; From the Mississippi Delta; Dreamgirls; Purlie and for colored girls...

Regionally her directing work has included productions of Buzzer; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Stick Fly; Flyin’ West; Long Time Since Yesterday; The Story; Some Girls; King Hedley II; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Fences; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Having Our Say; Wedding Band; C.O.T.O: Chocolate on the Outside; Funnyhouse of a Negro; Trouble in Mind; Blues for an Alabama Sky; Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches; The Colored Museum; Red, Hot & Cole; Gospel at Colonus; Hair; and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

She has served as Assistant Director on national tours of Little Shop of Horrors and One Mo’ Time and as production stage manager on national touring productions of Sophisticated Ladies (where she met her husband) and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

As a member of the College of Charleston community, Professor Vandervort-Cobb served for many years as the faculty advisor to Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Omicron Chapter, and faculty mentor to a number of performance, stage management, and directing students. She is most proud of her continued connection to her students, current and former - seven for whom she has served as Wedding Officiant and unofficial grandmother. Joy presently makes her home on James Island, SC, with her daughter who is matriculating at the College of Charleston, her granddaughter who reminds Joy daily of her advanced age, and her husband, John, who is a musician and education administrator.