Paducah's Market House Theatre receives the Kentucky Arts Council's Community Arts Award of the Governor's Awards in the Arts in Frankfort this Thursday. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte speaks with Market House Director Michael Cochran about the achievement and about how the theatre gives kids a creative outlet.
Kate asks Michael Cochran if winning an ward for community arts is based in the generations of children whose lives have been changed by Market House. Cochran, who has worked with the theatre for 30 years, says yes. Market House Theatre, he says, works to change lives and to change the ability for young people to go and do great things.
Cochran says the core of what they do at Market House Theatre is working with people, especially kids. They credit their success to teaching kids the creative process and how to manage critical feedback, to learn what it means to be an artist. "Parents who have kids involved with us tell us that involvement ripples through their schoolwork, their life, it gives them confidence to get up in front of a group of people and express their ideas. And it also helps their communication skills when they express their ideas."
On working with kids who face social challenges on the autism spectrum, Cochran says it's great to give kids an opportunity to rehearse for life and to stand up in front of other people people in the community, to try something new, to give them courage to try something they've never done before.
And that's what the Paducah community theatre is all about, constantly stretching what is possible on a small stage. Working on the current production Grapes of Wrath has been challenging because the source material is so expansive. Cochran has seen most of the 51 years of the theatres' history, and says they are successful because they constantly reinvent themselves.