Story from July 14, 2017 Paducah Sun
Paducah Bank presented a $75,000 three-year pledge check to Market House Theatre on Tuesday evening to support its $5 million Next Stage Campaign expansion project.
The check was presented as part of the theater’s open house to explain its revitalization efforts that will transform it into a 44,000-square-foot performing arts campus comprising 10 downtown buildings.
With Paducah Bank’s donation, Market House Theatre is now at $2,347,237 toward its $5 million goal to see the project fully funded.
The check will go toward the campaign’s general efforts, Executive Director Michael Cochran said, which entail construction costs in renovating, stabilizing and repurposing several of the buildings.
“The biggest thing for us is that we’re a creative organization, and part of that creativity is very much involved in this project … how to structure these spaces and (accomplish) this,” Cochran said, adding that the theater is currently — and will remain — debt-free in completing its expansion.
“When I check with other places and tell them what we’re doing, they ask how we’re staying in the black. I tell them Paducah is an amazing town, as is the leadership and our forward-thinking and creative people.”
Enhancements in the Next Stage Campaign include extra space for Market House’s theater, dance and music programming that include four classrooms for a total of six, a new rehearsal space and an off-site scene shop for set construction.
Other additions include Market House lobby and restroom renovations. The studio theater will be moved into the Finkel’s building to double acting space and theater audience capacity, and the courtyard will be expanded behind the Events Center and Classroom Building at 120 and 122 Market House Square.
During the open house, tours were conducted by theater staff, board members and volunteers to give the public a look inside many of the buildings.
“It’s just big,” was tourist Diane Fischer’s reaction.
From Kentucky Lake, Fischer said she’s a decades-long ticketholder. When her husband, Charles, passed away, she convinced her friend Jean Bailey from Gilbertsville to take his tickets so the two could enjoy the theater’s programming together.
“I think this is going to draw more people from surrounding areas into downtown Paducah,” Fischer said.
Anne Bidwell of Paducah — an enthusiastic supporter and parent of three who benefit from Market House Theatre — said the versatility of the Next Stage Campaign stood out for her.
“I’ve been impressed with anything they’ve taken their hand to, whether it’s something onstage or educational,” Bidwell said. “Here we’re talking about making the whole community better by restoring dilapidated buildings, making more room for people in the community to find their true potential.”
Market House Theatre today has an active presence in four states, 14 counties and 42 schools with more than 1,300 classes and workshops. The organization averages 2,000 visits a week from volunteers, parents, children and audience members.