Center for Performance Studies


Guillermo Avilís-Rodríguez is a Ph.D. candidate the Theatre and Performance Studies department at UCLA and a Lecturer in the Chicana/o Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.  Some of his publications include: “Theatre and Transit: A Transit-Oriented Site-Specific Triptych” in Theatre Forum, “Darning Zoot Suit for the Next Generation” in Aztlán: a journal of Chicano studies. More information is available at:

Anna Brungardt is a Ph.D. student in the Germanic Languages and Literature Department, now the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies (ELTS). Her Ph.D. research centers around intersections of performance, gender, and representation within a colonial and post-colonial German context. Using frameworks from performance studies, memory studies, and queer studies, her larger research project focuses on performance, visual, and aesthetic legacies of the Herero genocide as they have (dis/re)appeared in twentieth-century German culture.

Pankhuri Z Dasgupta is a PhD student at the Department of Gender Studies, UCLA. She is interested in using Feminist Methods and Performance Theory to study migration within South Asia. She has a MPhil in Women's Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi where she submitted her dissertation titled Gender and Contemporary Dance in India.

Danielle A. Davis is a Ph.D. student in the UCLA Theater and Performance Studies program.  Her research broadly works at the intersections of artistic and athletic performance, critical race theory and American popular culture. She is the 2016 First Place Winner of The Black Theatre Network’s S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Essay Competition and previously received her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Theater from Pomona College.

Iyanna Hamby is a Ph.D. student, she comes to UCLA from Nashville Tennessee. Her research interests include race, gender, and casting practices in theatre. She earned a degree was at Fisk University where she graduated summa cum laude and was her classes valedictorian. Past projects include Subversive Playwrights and Racial Tension in America.

Eva Heppelmannn is a Ph.D. candidate in the Theatre and Performance Studies department at UCLA, having completed a MA in French and Francophone literature at University of Maryland. Her research investigates the intersections of Feminist and Gender theories with Creole and Creolization theories. Currently, her work looks at theater and performance from the Francophone Caribbean, in particular Haitian theater, and its reception and relationship with the trans-Atlantic.

Kirk Kanesaka is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.  His dissertation is focusing on the cross-fertilization between Early Modern popular fiction and play writing.  He focuses on two particular writers, popular fiction writer Ihara Saikaku and playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, he is the only non-Japanese citizen to be accepted as a professional Kabuki Actor in the theater's history.  He also teaches Japanese Classical dance throughout the United States.

Hye Kyoung Kwon is a Ph.D. candidate in Theater and Performance Studies. She completed her B.A and M.A in Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea. She studied contemporary South Korean political theater and feminist theater during her M.A program, and her thesis focused on the ways in which textual anxiety from national censorship and governmental surveillance manifested in South Korean theater of the 1970s. Her recent research focuses on how the surface of Korean-ness has been shaped in the context of globalization, including the transnational mobility of South Korean visual media, multi-cultural performances, and Korean/American theaters.

Sarah Lewis-Cappellari is a Ph.D. student in the UCLA Theater and Performance Studies program and a Eugene Cota-Robles fellow. Sarah was based in Berlin for several years where she received her MFA at the University of Arts Berlin in the "Art in Context" program and worked with the art & science collective Mobile Academy Berlin. Her current research intersects concepts of "the marvelous real", performance, critical race and Caribbean studies to look at the symbolic and material resonance of how sugar has come to dictate tastes while exploring potentialities of consuming this seemingly banal ingredient differently.

Jennifer L. Monti is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her studies focus on Iberian Literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular interest in women writers and artists. Jennifer’s current research and dissertation project centers on the presence and representation of Cuba in a number of twentieth and twenty-first century Spanish literary texts, films, and photographs written and produced by women.

Carla Neuss is a Ph.D. candidate in the Theatre and Performance Studies Department at UCLA. She previously earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley in English Literature and her M.Phil. from Oxford University in Medieval Studies. Her dissertation project analyzes twentieth century forms of medievalism in performance through the lenses of affect, cognitive theory, and phenomenology. She is also a playwright, director, and dramaturg. Further details on her and her work can be found at

Farrah O’Shea is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theater and Performance Studies whose research focuses on the intersection of musicology and performance studies. Her recent project explored authenticity, race and celebrity in Janis Joplin’s voice and performance by examining conventional wisdom about her “authentic” whiskey voice and “originality” as a performer. Another project explored a performer’s embodied and experiential relationship to both music and poetry while performing Kaija Saariaho’s “Vent Nocturne” for solo viola and electronics. O’Shea has worked with musicologist, Susan McClary, music theorist, Diane Urista and violist, Lynne Ramsey. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Jenna Tamimi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theater and Performance Studies. She received her masters in performance studies at NYU and her bachelors in Theater and Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on minoritarian subjects' engagement with the past through different embodied practices. Her other academic interests range from a queering Emily Dickinson's poetry through her use of the dash to lesbian vampire films of the 1970s.

Clara Wilch is a Ph.D. student interested in indigenous studies, affect theory, queer theory, contemporary theater and performance, ecology and biology. Recent and ongoing work has focused on intersections between performance/art, climate change, indigenous-led environmental movements, affective relationships to land and possible American futures. Clara has an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.A. in Biology from Occidental College (summa cum laude).

Yun-Pu Yang is a Ph.D. student in Theater and Performance Studies. She earned her MA in theater from Taipei National University of the Arts and her BA in Chinese literature from National Taiwan University. She is the recipient of the prestigious Scholarship for Oversea Study awarded by the Taiwan Government’s Ministry of Education. Her research interests are Chinese opera, gender performance, and queer theory.