Nathaniel Justiniano

Principal Zhu Puppeteer

Related Productions


Nathaniel is a queer, Cali-Rican theater artist.

He is the founding Artistic Director of Naked Empire Bouffon Company, which began in San Francisco in 2009 with an activist mission to devise hilarious, cutting, and visually-provocative satires to catalyze urgent discourse. Since then, Naked Empire has toured across the continent with award-winning new works and training intensives becoming North America’s premier bouffon company. 

He has acted with Shakespeare Orange County, Son of Semele Ensemble, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Dell’Arte Company, Thrillpeddlers, and We Players. He also performed for Cutting Ball Theater in Yury Urnov’s production of Ubo Roi, for which he won Best Puppetry in San Francisco from SF Weekly.

Beyond the stage, his work also focuses on social justice in the workplace and in performance pedagogy. Some of his activism is featured in the recent Howlround series, “When Clowns Fight the Power” and the American Theater Magazine piece, “Send In The Activist Clowns.” 

Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Comedic Performance at Emerson College and he has served as the Director of Physical Comedy for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Movement Designer at UC Berkeley, core faculty of the SF Clown Conservatory, and guest faculty at the Juilliard School.