American Conservatory Theater announces 2021 Honorary Master of Fine Arts Honorees



Seret Scott

SAN FRANCISCO (April 30, 2020)—American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Director of the Master of Fine Arts program Danyon Davis announced today that honorary Master of Fine Arts degrees will be conferred upon actress, director, and playwright Seret Scott and sound designer and composer Jake Rodriguez. Both recipients will receive their degrees at a virtual graduation ceremony for the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2021 on Monday, May 17 at 1 p.m.

Says Davis: “Seret Scott had a profound impact on the Class of 2021 in leading them as the director of a workshop of Julia Cho’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in their second year. She also made a significant impact when she read from her memoirs and spoke to the entire student body as the featured guest for one of our Conservatory Hours. We admire Ms. Scott for her storied career as an actor, director, union member, and advocate.” 

Jake Rodriguez

“Jake Rodriguez is a celebrated Bay Area artist who worked closely with the Class of 2021 as the sound designer on A.C.T.’s holiday offering this season, A Christmas Carol: On Air,” adds Davis. “The class also encountered Mr. Rodriguez’ extraordinary work in his contributions to A.C.T.’s productions of Sweat and The Great Leap during their three years of study in the MFA Program. We admire him greatly for his contributions to our community.”

Seret Scott has directed a dozen productions at the Old Globe Theatre as an Associate Artist. Off-Broadway she premiered Mujeres Y Hombres at New Victory Theatre, and directed Birdie Blue and Zooman and The Sign for Second Stage Theatre, Yohen for Pan Asian Rep. Regional credits: Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Studio Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Tribute Productions, Court Theater, Studio Arena, ACT-SF, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Actor’s Theatre- Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare, Denver Theatre Center, PlayMakers Rep, Crossroads, Alliance, Indiana Rep, Alley, Philadelphia Theatre Co, National Black Theatre, New Mexico Rep, Tisch-NYU, Juilliard, among others. She directed workshops for Roundabout Theatre, Pacific Playwright’s, O’Neill Theatre Center, NY Stage and Film, Sundance, New Harmony and is a former Director in Residence at New Dramatists. Seret authored Second Line, produced by NJ’s Passage Theatre and DC’s Atlas Theatre and is a Drama Desk Award winning actress.

Jake Rodriguez is a sound designer and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other theatres: Woman Laughing Alone with SaladThe Events (Shotgun Players); Sweat, Vietgone (American Conservatory Theater); A Thousand Splendid Suns (American Conservatory Theater, Theatre Calgary, Grand Theater, The Old Globe); Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (American Conservatory Theater, Guthrie Theater); Everybody (California Shakespeare Theatre); Angels in America, An Octoroon (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); we, the invisibles (Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Christians (Playwrights Horizons, Mark Taper Forum); Girlfriend (Kirk Douglas Theatre), others. Awards: Recipient of the 2004 Princess Grace Award for Sound Design. Other: Creator of Cricket, a mobile theatre sound design and playback software program; acoustic adviser. Education: Sound design internship, American Conservatory Theater; San Francisco State University School of Theatre and Dance.

Past recipients of the A.C.T. honorary M.F.A. degree include actor Marco Barricelli, actress Annette Bening, actress and comedian Mary Birdsong, actor Benjamin Bratt, former San Francisco mayor Willie Lewis Brown, Jr., former Theatre Communications Group executive director Ben Cameron, Grammy Award–winning musician Tracy Chapman, playwright Lydia R. Diamond, Academy Award­–winning actress Olympia Dukakis, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia, former Magic Theatre Artistic Director Loretta Greco, playwright John Guare, playwright David Henry Hwang, Tony Award winner Bill Irwin, actor Steven Anthony Jones, former state senator Mark Leno, actress Seana McKenna, arts leader Jonathan Moscone, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, former A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff, former chairman emeritus of the A.C.T. Foundation Alan Stein, San Francisco Symphony’s Michael Tilson Thomas, actor Gregory Wallace, Academy Award­–winning actor Denzel Washington, and director, producer, and, playwright Charles Randolph-Wright.

Recipients of the Conservatory’s honorary degrees are selected by the MFA Board of Directors, a committee of the A.C.T. Board of Trustees. Selections are based on an individual’s contribution to the advancement of the mission and educational goals of American Conservatory Theater and the arts in America.

For more information about the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program, visit

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