Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner

Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner (she/her)

Associate Professor
Theatre Studies
College of Performing Arts; Department of Theatre
Expertise: Theatre Studies; Dramaturgy; Theatre History;
Office Location: Moulton Hall 211
Phone: (714) 289-2084
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
University Honors Program
Converse College, Bachelor of Arts
Virginia Commonwealth University, Master of Fine Arts
University of Kansas, Ph.D.

Video Profile


Dr. Buckner teaches coursework in theatre history and historiography, dramaturgy, dramatic theory and criticism, and the BA Senior Seminar course. Beginning in 2017, Dr. Buckner joined Professor Michael Nehring as a faculty member of the Chapman University London Theatre Tour. Beyond the Department of Theatre, she is also a faculty member of the University Honors Program, where she teaches special topics courses. As a mentor, she draws on her experiences as a director, dramaturg, scholar, and arts administrator to guide the application and integration of students’ research and creative work on productions, internships, thesis projects, and capstone projects. Additionally, she has mentored students’ independent research/creative projects funded by Undergraduate Student Scholarly/Creative Grants and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships administered by the Chapman University Center for Undergraduate Excellence. She supports the Chapman Department of Theatre’s production season as the advisor for all student production dramaturgs who support productions and provide audience engagement opportunities by creating resources for the production team, lobby displays, program notes, and facilitating pre- and post-show discussions between artists and audiences. She has been recognized for her work in and out of the classroom with Chapman University’s 2017 Faculty Excellence Award in Mentorship of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, Chapman University’s 2016 Valerie Scudder Award for Outstanding Teaching, Research/Creative Activity, and Service, Chapman University’s 2015 Faculty Excellence and Achievement in Teaching Award, and the 2014 Sigma Alpha Pi (The National Society of Leadership and Success) Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Buckner’s research focuses on the intersections and representations of identity such as race, class, gender, and sexuality, as well as materialism and affect, in contemporary plays written by Black and feminist playwrights. She also studies U.S. popular entertainment from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. She is the editor of A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage (Routledge), the first scholarly collection dedicated to the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright’s work. This anthology examines Nottage’s dramatic treatment of themes such as history, the African diaspora, and identity, and includes interviews with the playwright and her frequent collaborators. Dr. Buckner’s second book project identifies and examines the history of the sister-act phenomenon in U.S. popular entertainment at the turn of the last century. These all-female family performance troupes served as a representative touchstone for American society’s increasing acceptance of and complicated relationship to female subjectivity in public, political, and artistic spheres. Dr. Buckner has published book chapters as well as peer-reviewed articles, editorials, book reviews, and performance reviews in African American Review, American Studies Journal, Ecumenica Journal, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, HowlRound, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Popular Entertainment Studies, Theatre History Studies, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, and Theatre Topics. Additionally, Dr. Buckner has served as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism and as Guest Editor for the Spring 2020 special issue of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Local Acts: Performing Communities, Performing Americas.

Dr. Buckner is an active member of several professional organizations and regularly presents her research at national and international conferences. She serves as the Vice President/President-Elect of the American Theatre and Drama Society and previously served as ATDS Conference Planner. She has also served as the Vice President of Awards on the Governing Council of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and as a member of the American Society for Theatre Research Gerald Kahan Essay Award Committee as well as the Nominating Committee. She was Co-Chair of the Mid-America Theatre Conference Articles-in-Progress Sessions and Book-Proposal Workshops.

Dr. Buckner is also a dramaturg and has collaborated with theatres including Pitt Repertory Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry, and Center Stage Theatre’s New Play Festival. She has served as a script respondent for the literary department of South Coast Repertory Theatre, and an audience engagement facilitator for Center Theatre Group. She is a resident artist of The Chance Theater, where she has served as dramaturg for the On The Radar: New Works Series since 2016, and has served various productions in the mainstage season (Maple and Vine 2014, A Bright New Boise 2015, Seminar 2016, Middletown 2017, in a word 2017, Elevada 2018, and Skylight 2019).

Dr. Buckner holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of Kansas, an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BA in Theatre and Economics from Converse College. Prior to joining Chapman’s Department of Theatre in 2012, Dr. Buckner held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

"Introduction," special issue, "Local Acts: Performing Communities, Performing Americas," Journal of American Drama and Theatre, special issue vol 32. no. 2, Spring 2020.
Guest Editor, “Local Acts: Performing Communities, Performing Americas,” Journal of American Drama and Theatre, vol 32, no. 2, Spring 2020.
Dramaturg, Chance Theater CyberChat Series, 2020; Craig Lucas, An American in Paris, August; Antoinette Nwandu, Pass Over, July; Dominique Morriseau, Pipeline, May;
On the Radar: New Works Series, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA 2020 “100 Heartbreaks,” Joanna Garner (2018 resident playwright) “Shooter,” Krista Knight (2020 resident playwright) “A New Play,” Krista Knight “Commissioned New Play,” Adam Szymkowicz (2015 resident playwright)
Dramaturg, Chance Theater Cyber Chat Series, 2020-21 Lynn Nottage, Sweat, February 2021 John Leguizamo, Latin History for Morons, September 2020 Steven Levenson, If I Forget, September 2020 Craig Lucas, An American in Paris, August 2020 Antoinette Nwandu, Pass Over, July 2020 Dominique Morriseau, Pipeline, May 2020
“‘The History of America is the History of Private Property’: The Politics of Home in Clybourne Park and Beneatha’s Place.” Performing Dream Homes: Theater and the Spatial Politics of the Domestic Sphere, edited by Emily Klein, Jen-Scott Mobley, and Jill Stevenson, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 21-44.
Dramaturg, 25th Annual Native Voices New Play Festival, “Quantum,” Tara Moses, Native Voices at the Autry, Los Angeles, CA, and at La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, CA, 2019
Dramaturg, On the Radar: New Works Series, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA 2019 “End of Shift,” Jenny Connell Davis, October 2019 “Mother of Exiles” Jessica Huang (2019 resident playwright), July 2019 “Creep,” John Glore, May 2019 “Transmissions in Advance of the Second Great Dying,” Jessica Huang, March 2019
Audience Engagement Facilitator, Happy Days, Director: James Bundy, Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA, 2019
Dramaturg, Skylight, Director: Oanh Nguyen, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2019
Programme Article, Sweat, Director: Lynnette Linton, Donmar Warehouse, London, 2018, West End Transfer to The Guilgud Theatre, 2019
Chappell, Andrew, Jocelyn L. Buckner, and Maxie Lankalingam (BA Theatre Studies, 2018). “Teaching World-Mindedness in a Mixed Majors and Non-Majors Course: The Work of Rabindranath Tagore Explored by Faculty and an Undergraduate International Student.” Theatre Topics, vol 28, no.1, Spring 2018, pp. 43-52.
Dramaturg, 24th Annual Native Voices New Play Festival, “Soledad,” Carolyn Dunn, Native Voices at the Autry, Los Angeles, CA, and at La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, CA, June 2018,
Dramaturg, On the Radar: New Works Series, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA 2018 “The Orange Garden,” Joanna Garner, October 2018 “Gutting,” Joanna Garner, July 2018 (2018 resident playwright) “Hyman and Parfunkel,” Gregg Hammer and Louis Pardo, May 2018 “Bedlam,” Zayd Dohrn, February 2018
Dramaturg, Elevada, Director: Nick Avila, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2018
Producer, Laramie Project (staged reading in honor of the 20th Anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death), Chapman University, 2018
Engagement Facilitator for Community Conversations Series and post-performance talkbacks,Sweat, Director: Lisa Peterson, Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA, 2018
“A Collective Call Against Critical Bias,” HowlRound Journal: A Knowledge Commons By and for the Theatre Community. 26 June 2017.
Dramaturg, On The Radar: New Works Series, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2017, “Times Square Psychic,” Ted Malawer, October 2017, “Anatomy of Love,” Ted Malawer, July 2017, “The Candidate: A Farce,” Jenny Connell Davis, May 2017, “How to Conquer America: A Mostly True History of Yogurt,” David Myers, March 2017
Dramaturg, in a word, Director: Jocelyn A. Brown, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2017
Dramaturg, Middletown, Director: Trevor Biship, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2017
“Diasporic Desires in Las Meninas.” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. Ed. Jocelyn L. Buckner. New York: Routledge, 2016.
“On Creativity and Collaboration: A Conversation with Lynn Nottage, Seret Scott, and Kate Whoriskey.” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. Ed. Jocelyn L. Buckner. New York: Routledge, 2016.
“Introduction.” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. Ed. Jocelyn L. Buckner. New York: Routledge, 2016.
A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. New York: Routledge, 2016.
Dramaturg, On The Radar: New Works Series, The Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2016 "Song of Summer," Lauren Yee, October 2016 “Rare Birds,” Adam Szymkowicz, August 2016 “Gaston,” Jenny Connell Davis, July 2016 “Alice & Frank,” Jenny Connell Davis, May 2016 Reading: “L.A. Vida” by David Wendell Nelson, May 2016 Reading: “Scientific Method” by Jenny Connell Davis, March 2016
Dramaturg, Seminar, Director: Elina de Santos, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2016
“Slaughterhouses and Sensorial Affect: Dramatizing Labor, Capitalism, and Industrial Food Production in Bertolt Brecht’s Saint Joan of the Stockyards and Naomi Wallace’s Slaughter City.” Food and Theatre on the World Stage. Ed. Dorothy Chansky and Ann Folino White. New York: Routledge, 2015. 119-135.
Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting. Ed. Simon Williams. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Entries on: Henrietta Vinton Davis, Ruby Dee, Free Southern Theater, Charles Sidney Gilpin, Earle Hyman, James Earl Jones, Elizabeth LeCompte, Mako, Negro Ensemble Company, Lane Nishikawa, Soon-Tek Oh, Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson, Anna Deveare Smith, and Zoe Wanamaker.
Book Review, Spectacles of Reform: Theater and Activism in Nineteenth-Century America by Amy E. Hughes, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism XXIX, no. 1 (Fall 2014): 99-100.
Book Review, Suzan-Lori Parks: Essays on the Plays and Other Works edited by Philip C. Kolin, African American Review 45.4 (Winter 2012, published Winter 2013): 669-671.
Performance Review, The Tallest Tree in the Forest (world premiere), La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla CA. Theatre Journal 66.2 (May 2014): 272-274.
Dramaturg, Maple and Vine, Director: Mark Ramont, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2014
Book Review, Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface by Anne Anlin Cheng. Theatre Survey 54.2 (May 2013): 317-320.
Book Review, A Dangerous Woman: the Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America’s Original Superstar by Michael and Barbara Foster, Theatre Survey 54.2 (May 2013): 317-320.
“’Spectacular Opacities’: The Hyers Sisters’ Performances of Respectability and Resistance,” African American Review 45.3 (Fall 2012 – published Fall 2013): 309-323.
Performance Review, The Best Man, Schoenfeld Theatre, New York. Ecumenica Journal 64.3 (Fall 2012): 105-106.
“Diggin’ the Material: Ideological State Apparatuses, ‘Capitalizm’, and Identity in Suzan-Lori Parks’s Red Letter Plays,” Journal of American Drama and Theatre 23.2 (Spring 2011): 31-50.
“The Angel and the Imp: The Duncan Sisters’ Performances of Race and Gender” Popular Entertainment Studies, 2.2 (Sept. 2011): 55-72.
Performance Review, Harriet Jacobs, Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Theatre Journal 63.3 (October 2011): 460-462.