Joyce Piven

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Joyce Hiller Piven (born February 21, 1930) is an American director, teacher, and actress. She and her late husband, Byrne Piven, were actors in the Compass Players. Later they founded the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Illinois and became a teacher to a generation of stars such as John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Aidan Quinn, Adam McKay, and their son Jeremy Piven.

She still teaches and directs at the Workshop and serves as the Artistic Director Emeritus.[1]


Piven was born Joyce Goldstein.[2] In 1954, Joyce Hiller met Byrne Piven at the University of Chicago. They were married a short time later. In the 1950s, the Pivens were two of the founding members of the Playwrights Theatre Club, along with Paul Sills and David Shepard. Playwrights featured such budding stars as Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Ed Asner and Barbara Harris. They later formed the Compass Players, a forerunner to The Second City.[3]