Meet Collette Pollard

Collette is an award winning scenic designer based out of Chicago. Her work has been seen all over the country and internationally. Originally from San Jose, Collette was drawn to Chicago for school where she received her BFA with honors in scenic design from the Theatre School at DePaul University in 2000 and earned her MFA from Northwestern University in 2007. She taught and received the full-time Scenic Design Theatre Lectureship at Columbia College Chicago and teaches adjunct at Northwestern University. Collette is a Joseph Jefferson Award Winner and a Suzi Bass Award Nominee. She received the Michael Merritt Maggio Emerging Designer Award in 2010. Additionally she is a company member at The House Theatre of Chicago where she has designed over 20 shows since 2004.


What inspires you? 

I’m inspired by individuals’ stories and how they get to where they are right now.  It’s always so inspiring what people can accomplish, tolerate, suffer, celebrate and achieve.  

Also, Because of my work I am often inspired by the playwright, director or characters’ story. This leads me to visual research which absolutely inspires my work. This can be in any form of art…photography, paintings, sculptures, installations, music etc.  More often than not the journey of researching leads me to meeting some wonderful people. Some of the most inspiring people have been the person sitting next to me on the airplane on a way to a meeting. We discuss where we are traveling too and why. It always feel like a gift when someone shares their story. It reminds me that we are more the same than different and that we aren’t alone.

What is your first memory? 

My first memory is of my cookie monster shaped (of course all blue) birthday cake from my 3rd birthday. If cookie monster could be a cake anything was possible.

Where is your favorite place to travel to? 

The Netherlands.  I sailed the IJsselmeer 4 years ago with my husband.  There is nothing like being on the water for weeks on end and staying in different towns every night.  The most amazing experience was sailing into Amsterdam, picking up friends and family on the water side of the train station, then sailing under a bridge that had to be opened by a bridge tender, to then dock in the middle of the city.  Often I wonder why I don’t live there on a boat year round.

What do you think about when you are alone? 

I think about how we navigate differently through the world as a woman. I think about how to help and support other women that are in pursuit of a dream.  I wonder about how to keep the forward momentum for women so they can be seen as equal, receive equal pay and live in a world that recognizes their contributions.

What expression or saying do you love? 

“It’s gonna be great.”  It gets you through any day.


Want more? Check out her amazing work at

Side note: I just found this video online and while the quality isn’t awesome I LOVE how the audience reacts to the unveiling of Collette’s amazing set design!