Jessica Nakamura

Associate Professor

Office Location

Theater Dance West, Room 1512


Asian Theater and Performance

Performance Art and Visual Culture

Performance Historiography


Ph.D., Theater and Performance Studies, Stanford University

M.F.A., Asian Theater Directing, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Dr. Jessica Nakamura’s research focuses on theater and performance in the Asia-Pacific. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Asian Theater and her Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from Stanford University. Her essays have appeared in the journals Modern Drama, Performance Research, Trans Asia Photography Review and the edited volumes, Performance in a Militarized Culture and Performing the Secular.

Her current book project, Transgenerational Remembrance: Performance and the Asia-Pacific War in Contemporary Japan, analyzes contemporary performances about previously obscured topics of Japanese war aggression and imperialism. At a time when the generation with direct experiences of the war passes away, her book identifies performances that forge dialogue between younger generations and elided memories. Dr. Nakamura is also at work on a second project about representations of the domestic in twentieth century Japanese theater, from the introduction of Western realism until the present.

At UCSB, Dr. Nakamura teaches undergraduate courses on Asian Theater and Performance, Asian American Theater, performance and protest, and the history of directing. Her graduate seminars include performance historiography, critical methods, and Asian performance theories. Before arriving at UCSB, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre & Dance at University of Nevada, Reno.

Dr. Nakamura has trained in Japanese Dance, Chinese Beijing Opera, and Balinese Dance. Her directing work includes productions of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Yerma and Gao Xingjian’s Wild Man; she most recently translated and directed Family Portrait by contemporary Japanese playwright Shu Matsui.



Japanese and East Asian Theater and Performance, performance art and visual culture, performance historiography, global performance theories, global realisms


Asian Theater and Performance, Asian American Theater, History of Directing
Critical Methods, Performance Historiography