Saturday, February 18, 2012

Obituary: Jennifer Cook

The unsung heroine
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Jennifer Cook, who died this week after a prolonged illness, was one of the great unsung heroines of Canadian theatre having touched the lives of artists across the country. She began her work in Canadian theatre at Centaur where she served as secretary to the artistic director and general manager (under Maurice Podbrey). She became friends with many of the creators simply passing through the company, and was a close accomplice of virtually all who worked there. It was during this period that I met her and before long she was not only my best friend, but also managed my career as a playwright, ushering my work into CBC radio and coproducing my play Michael (which was subsequently performed, in French, at Quat'Sous, largely thanks to her involvement).

Cook continued her work in theatre after retirement, offering her volunteer services to GCTC when she moved to Ottawa. She also worked as a DJ for a time.

But it was simply with her temperament - always positive and enthusiastic - and with her encouragement, that she allowed us to see the light in the - often profound - theatrical darkness. She helped many of us to stay the course.

She leaves behind her two sons, Miles and Alastair, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

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