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She wrote and performed in SHE/HER at PS21 (Chatham, NY 2021) and also at The Assembly Rooms at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a 5 star “must see” production in 2022, produced by Brian Cox.  


At Shakespeare and Co. she was the co-director (with Tina Packer) of THE WAVERLY GALLERY and directed WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND UNAFRAID as well as acting in CAROLINE IN JERSEY in the Winter Studio Festival of Plays, among others. She has also co-created and directed, with Allyn Burrows, THE VALENTINE SHOW for the past three seasons. 


She directed QUEEN OF THE SEA at The Great Barrington Public Theater New Play Series (2021), as well as BLIND DATE in The Radius Festival (Berkshire Playwrights Lab) and acted in ANOTHER PART OF THE WOOD, and in her original short play ASKING FOR A FRIEND at Theatre Fest (2019).  Other local acting credits include ANNAPURNA at The Chester Theater. She directed the short film SWEET NOTHINGS, previously on the festival circuit.


Favorite leading roles include the premiere of LIFE SENTENCES by Richard Nelson at The Second Stage, NY opposite Edward Herrmann and ROMEO AND JULIET opposite Michael Cerveris and Viggo Mortensen at Indiana Rep. Elsewhere she has directed and acted for LA Women’s Shakespeare Co, Santa Monica Rep, Ojai Playwrights Conference and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Michelle has a BA in English Literature from Hunter College, and worked her way thru school as a successful model for the famed Elite Model Agency in New York. She has appeared on magazine covers around the world. 


After college, Michelle was one of a handful of American actors chosen to participate in the prestigious first ever training program after Glasnost at Balliol College, Oxford (BADA/YALE UNIVERSITY) with THE MOSCOW ARTS THEATRE and THE BERLINER ENSEMBLE. There she played Sonya in UNCLE VANYA, memorialized in a BBC Documentary about this program called A VISIT FROM VANYA. Her teachers included Brain Cox, Bill Nighy, David Leveaux, Max Stanford Clark, Diana Quick and many other luminaries from the London stage. 


With a prolific acting career on television and film, Michelle is still remembered as the girl that Sylvester Stallone drops off the side of a mountain in CLIFFHANGER (famously parodied by Jim Carrey and a raccoon in Ace Ventura) and also played the victim of a global pandemic in OUTBREAK opposite Dustin Hoffmann (which became number one on NETFLIX during covid) as well as Jim Belushi’s love interest in TRACES OF RED, and her ‘above the title’ lead opposite Dwight Yokum and Walt Goggins in PAINTED HERO. She has acted opposite James Earl Jones, Kevin Costner, David Crosby, Cuba Gooding Jr, Kevin Kline, Betty Buckley, Tim Roth and many others.


She has been directed by Lawrence Kasdan, Renny Harlin, Wolfgang Peterson, John Sayles, Sam Raimi and other accomplished filmmakers. Her career started by playing the country western star Sarah Whiting on the daytime drama SEARCH FOR TOMORROW. On television Michelle has guest starred in dozens of television shows including X-FILES, QUANTUM LEAP, BONES, PERCEPTION, MURDER IN THE FIRST, NORTHERN EXPOSURE and many others. She has been sponsored by television studios for 2 Emmy awards in the Guest Actress category. 


As a professional writer, Michelle has written ten studio feature film screenplays, adapting novels by luminary writers such as D.H. Lawrence, Kathryn Harrison, Jane Smiley, Alexandre Dumas and other award winner authors to great acclaim. 


As a spoken word artist, Michelle has performed in many story salons in different cities and is a repeat performer at THE MOTH. She leads THE LONG TABLE, a women’s writing group in Los Angeles and Great Barrington. She is a proud member of AEA, SAG, WGA, SDC and Dramatists Guild, and also a member of Berkshire Voices Playwrighting Group. She writes the column YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN for The Berkshire Edge. 


Michelle and her husband Robert Egan (Producing Director - The Mark Taper Forum, Artistic Director - Ojai Playwrights Conference) will launch THE RAMSDELL PROJECT next year on their property in Great Barrington, focusing on new play development, artistic retreats and live storytelling.  


They share four sons, two dogs and hope to add some farm animals to the family soon. Her other passions include design, and her firm THE SCENIC ROUTE is currently working on its third build reimagining old New England homes for modern families. 

Michelle is a true hyphenate: An actor, writer, director and dramaturg raised in western Massachusetts, and recently transplanted back to The Berkshires after a stint in New York and London, as well as a few decades in Los Angeles. 


This year Michelle will direct the world premiere of TRUE ART (by Jessica Provenz) at The Dorset Theatre Festival (Vt). Last season Michelle directed the US Premiere of THE STONES (by Kit Brookman) at Great Barrington Public Theater (The Berkshires), nominated for a Best Solo Performance award. She also directed THE SHOT (by Robin Gerber) with Sharon Lawrence at The New Jersey Rep in a heralded sold out run and at The Whidbey Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. She created and directed BRING BACK THE MOVIES starring Lauren Ambrose, David Rasche and Jayne Atkinson at The Daniel Arts Center (The Berkshires) as well as a reading of her first full length play IODINE at Berkshire Voices.


In 2022, Michelle starred in THE APPROACH at Shakespeare and Co. (U.S. premiere, nominee Best Ensemble), and directed THE SHOT at Great Barrington Public Theatre (nominee Best new play, Best solo performance) and also at The United Solo Festival, Theatre Row, NYC (Winner Best production, Audience Favorite, Best performance, Best lighting design). 

Michelle Joyner (full bio)

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