She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College, followed by a Master of Arts degree from Brooklyn College. During the late 1990s, she gained a considerable following in the Netherlands. Much of her stagecraft was associated with the prestigious Duke Romijn Theatre in Amsterdam.
She also co-wrote the best-selling Dutch children"s book, Jana’s nachtreis, with Ceseli Josephus Jitta.
Purvis later moved to the United States and founded an avant-garde theater company, Token 150, in New York City. In the United States, Purvis is best known for her work on Berthold Brecht"s The Good Person of Szechwan and for reviving Jonathan Levy"s classic, Charlie the Chicken for contemporary audiences.
She has also staged new works by Technical Director Mitchell and Mya Kagan. Purvis currently teaches acting at Pace University and in the theater department at Lehman College.