It’s all in the eye catch: Poster artist Richard Pollard

Published 5:50 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

If you’ve passed by a downtown window lately displaying the poster for Exit Laughing, The Waterworks Players’ forthcoming production, and paused to take it in, you’ve just made its creator very happy. “If the poster doesn’t catch your eye as you’re walking by and you don’t stop to look, I’ve failed,” Richard Pollard said in a recent interview.

Exit Laughing is the 30th poster Pollard has done for Waterworks in an association lasting more than a decade. His first was for Rent, in 2010.

How did that come about? “Well, my wife was in the cast of The Full Monty, and she overheard the director (Dudley Sauve, Waterworks’s Artistic Director) saying he wished he know more folks who could create posters and program covers. She gave him my name, and when Rent went into rehearsal Dudley came to me with a verbal description of what he wanted. I did my best to follow that, and he liked it.”

“Looking back on that poster now, I think ‘ooo, that’s rough; the execution isn’t very good.’  I could have taken that design now and improved it.”

What has been Pollard’s most challenging assignment? “Les Miserables, without a doubt. It was a play Dud had always wanted to do, and I really didn’t want to disappoint him. I went through three or four versions of the poster before I showed him anything, and amazingly he liked the very first design.”

What has been Pollard’s most satisfying experience? “It’s a toss-up between Chicago and 9 to 5. Those posters looked just right — they had the proper ‘eye-catch.’ Chicago the play later became a major motion picture. So I asked myself, what would the audience to drawn to? I go into every poster assignment with that mindset; each one deserves the same sort of attention.”

When asked if he’s done artwork for other community theaters, Pollard shook his head and smiled: “Nope. Just Waterworks. I’m exclusive.”