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American Conservatory Theater Announces 2020 Honorary Master Of Fine Arts Degrees


American Conservatory Theater Announces 2020 Honorary Master Of Fine Arts Degrees

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Conservatory Director Melissa Smith announced today that honorary Master of Fine Arts degrees will be conferred upon playwright Lydia R. Diamond and Magic Theatre's outgoing artistic director Loretta Greco. Both recipients will receive their degrees at a virtual graduation ceremony for the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2020 on Monday, May 18 at 12 p.m.

Says Melissa Smith: "A.C.T.'s honorary degree is given to individuals who reflect A.C.T.'s mission of conserving, renewing, and reinventing the rich theatrical traditions, while also nurturing the future of the art form. Both Lydia and Loretta are gifted practitioners who exemplify passion, commitment, and excellence in their respective theatrical fields, qualities that also shine throughout our class of 2020 graduates."

Lydia R. Diamond is an award-winning playwright whose works include Toni Stone (2019 premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company; A.C.T.), Smart People, Stick Fly (Broadway run at Cort Theatre), Voyeurs de Venus, Harriet Jacobs, and The Bluest Eye. Her work has been performed at Arena Stage, Arden Theatre Company, Congo Square, Second Stage Theater, the New Victory Theater, Company One, Goodman Theatre, the Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and McCarter Theatre Center. Diamond has been a W. E. B. DuBois Institute Fellow at Harvard University, a Sundance Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow, a Sally B. Goodman Fellow, a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, and a National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group playwright. Diamond was a writer/consulting producer for Showtime's fourth season of The Affair, for which she was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award for Best Drama, episode 407. She is the recipient of the 2020 Horton Foote Playwriting Award. She sits on the Dramatists Guild Legal Defense Fund board and is on the faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Loretta Greco's directing credits at A.C.T. include Sweat, The Realistic Joneses, Speed-the-Plow, Blackbird, and Lackawanna Blues. As Magic Theatre's artistic director, Greco has proudly developed, premiered, and championed the work of Taylor Mac, Mfoniso Udofia, Barbara Hammond, Lloyd Suh, Jessica Hagedorn, Linda McLean, and Luis Alfaro, among many others. Her directing credits at Magic include Fool for Love, Mauritius, Oedipus el Rey, The Eva Trilogy, and The Gangster of Love. Greco's New York directing credits include the premieres of Tracey Scott Wilson's The Story (Kesselring Prize), Ruben Santiago-Hudson's Lackawanna Blues (Obie Award), and Nilo Cruz's Two Sisters and a Piano, all at The Public Theater; and Cruz's A Park in Our House at New York Theatre Workshop. Regional credits include Life Is a Dream at California Shakespeare Theater and Stop Kiss and Romeo and Juliet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Greco is the recipient of two Drama League fellowships and a Princess Grace Award.

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, Academy Award­-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia, 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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