Joe.Sykes.HeadshotThe basics: Joe, 31, an Actor’s Express intern during the 2003-04 season, has been prowling Atlanta stages ever since, most recently as the lupine antagonist in Steve Yockey’s Wolves at Actor’s Express. He’s currently playing lover-writer-philosopher Voltaire in Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight with the Weird Sisters Theatre Project at Aurora Theatre. (Through Aug. 25. Tickets, details HERE.)

Hometown: Penfield, a suburb of Rochester, N.Y.

Lives now: In Atlanta’s Edgewood-Little Five Points-Candler Park area.

Headed South: His dad had moved to town for work; Joe came down to check out colleges and found a fit at the University of Georgia.

Where you’ve seen him: As a proud Out of Hand Theater core company member, where he’s helped create such original work as the MP3 project: Group Intelligence, The Show (JoJo Rubbers), Hominid and Schriebstuck.

Where else you’ve seen him: In Next Fall, Suddenly Last Summer, Octopus and Bent at Actor’s Express; Large Animal Games, Date and Skin at Dad’s Garage; Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter and The Language of Angels at Synchronicity Theatre, among others.

Film/TV: David Bruckner’s Amateur Night in v/h/s, Bret Wood’s The Little Death and BET’s The Game.

Training: Bachelor’s degree in drama and English from UGA (2003).

Day job: Standardized patient for the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical School Graduates. “It’s acting work, sort of.”

First time onstage (ever): As a 14-year-old Pontius Pilate in his church production of Jesus Christ Superstar. “It was more of a liberal church,” he says. “Everybody told me I was great, and I got the bug.”

Why theater: “You go along your path, and this is where I am. I had an acting teacher tell me once that you should only do theater if it’s the only thing you’re good at and the only thing you want to do. It’s what I’m good at, and it’s what I want to do.”

Plugs: See him next in playwright/pal Steve Yockey’s Pluto at Actor’s Express (Oct. 30-Nov. 24) and as the charming, handsome Charles Heyman in Janece Shaffer’s The Geller Girls at the Alliance Theatre (Jan. 15-Feb. 9). Both are world premieres. With Out of Hand, he’s working on an Alzheimer’s project (script by Yockey). A workshop run is tentatively planned for April.

Parting shot: The “special skills” section of his resume lists, ahem, “fearlessness of nudity.”


Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, covering and and/or working in the performing arts for most of her life. Full disclosure: She’s affiiliated with Weird Sisters Theatre Project, mentioned above. Please email her at

About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

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