Claudia Harris | past ATCA International committee chair, dies at 85

Claudia Harris | past ATCA International committee chair, dies at 85

Claudia Woolston Harris

For many years, Claudia Harris was a power broker in ATCA. Without her support, I might never have been elected to the Executive Committee in 1990 just a couple of years after joining the organization. Past leaders Nancy Melich and Elizabeth Maupin were among the many Claudia coaxed into running or helped to elect by working the room, at a time when elections were conducted in person at our annual national conferences. With the help of her influence, women outnumbered men on the Executive Committee for the first time in the mid 1990s.

We have received word that Claudia died on Jan. 31 at age 85 after a long and full life as an author, professor of literature, critic for the Salt Lake Tribune and international publications, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She served as chair of ATCA’s International Committee and as an American delegate to several meetings of the International Association of Theatre Critics, where she was known to deliver scholarly papers.

She spent a lot of time in Ireland doing research, entertaining friends and attending theater while based in her flat in Dublin. She spent 20 years teaching at Brigham Young University.

She could be ornery and supportive and the most devoted of friends. With barely a pause, she could issue a stern warning and quickly follow it with the brightest smile. She cared about the professionalism of our organization and stressed to our membership the importance of our connection to the international theater critics community.

She is survived by her sister, three children and 11 grandchildren.

You can read more in the obituary prepared by her family.

 Submitted by Jay Handelman

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