The theatre community of Cranbrook is paying tribute to one of its longest serving and most involved participants.
Harriet Pollock stepped back from the board of directors of Cranbrook Community Theatre, after almost 35 years of participation in the local theatre scene, in which she set the standard for production and front-of-house involvement.
Harriet first took part in Fiddlin’ with Gilbert and Sullivan in 1987, doing advertising and front of house duties such as ticket taking and running concession. She performed those roles for a number of subsequent shows, before getting into properties — acquiring those props and incidental items that help bring a play to life. Harriet is described as bringing a particular genius to this role. “You could ask her for anything — a gold lamé phone,” said one. “And she would produce it.”
Over the years, Harriet got into production — a key role that brings all the elements into the theatre for a director to work with, and markets the play to the public, bringing in an audience. Harriet was particularly involved in plays directed by David Stock.
Harriet became treasurer for the Cranbrook Community Theatre board of directors and held that position for 30 years, handling all the finances of the organization until this fall, when she announced her retirement at the CCT Annual General Meeting.
Always in the background, always friendly, immensely dependable, Harriet also was a mainstay in organizing CCT’s social functions — the celebratory parties for opening and closing nights, the food and beverage for AGMs and the like.
The late Bud Abbott, one of the founders of Cranbrook Community Theatre and its most famous member, referred to her as “The Great Harriet,” for all she did making CCT as successful as it was over the decades.
Peter Schalk, President of CCT, said on behalf of the board that Harriet’s experience and knowledge of every aspect of CCT was irreplaceable.
“She was the rock and anchor for CCT and all the people who’ve come through over the years, not just as treasurer, but for all the jobs she was involved with,” Schalk said. “She was always so quiet, but hers was always the voice of reason. It’s an end of an era, and we move forward, but she is greatly missed.”
Cranbrook Community Theatre was formed in the 1960s, and in the 1970s took over stewardship of the heritage Masonic Lodge downtown, now called the Studio Stage Door. CCT’s efforts, activism and creativity over the years has been at the centre of Cranbrook’s theatre community. Its most recent production, “Almost Maine,” rebooted local drama for the pandemic age.