Sister of Kenneth Branagh, she talked about her family's roots in working class Belfast at the height of The Troubles in the 1970s and her brother's rapid success on stage and screen after they moved to England.
The event was meant to be a talk but the likably witty and effervescent speaker was on her feet the entire two hours and coached the members of Harrogate Theatre Supporters through some fascianting sessions in the art of direction and interpreting scripts.
A member of Harrogate Theatre Board, the versatile Joyce has the CV to know precisely what she's talking about on this score.
From being a 'runner' on TV shows like Blue Peter and Ab Fab and her brother's early movies Peter's Friends and Much A Do About Nothing, to her current position as an in-demand freelance stage director based in Manchester, she has done it all - and usually with good grace and humour.
She said one key thing she had always remembered as a director from her days of being on stage herself was simple - "acting is terrifying."
I was lucky enough to be among the small audience in the intimate space of Harrogate Theatre's studio and managed to chat to Joyce afterwards.
I didn't get around to asking her if Ken was coming back as bestselling writer Henning Mankell's TV detective, Wallander.
Fortunately someone else confirmed there was a new series coming of BBC 4's hit Scandi-noir show - but only one!
There will be more exciting events of this nature for members of Harrogate Theatre Supporters later in the year.
If you would like to join, visit www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk