January 23, 2012 at 7:37 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 8:45 AM
The founder of Midland Community Theater has passed away. Timothy Jebsen, the Executive Director of MCT, sent us the following about Art Cole:
Art Cole founded Midland Community Theatre in 1946 until his retirement in 1983. During his years of service to Midland Community Theatre, Art produced, directed and designed over 300 productions. In 1949, Art and Midland Community Theatre supporters started Summer Mummers, an annual fundraiser to support Midland Community Theatre that continues each and every year. Under his leadership, Midland Community Theatre grew to be one of the largest community theatres in the United States. The current home of Midland Community Theatre at 2000 West Wadley is named the Cole Theatre in honor of Ruth and Art Cole, our founders. Upon his passing, Art Cole was 92.
Art served at the President of the Texas Non-profit Theatre (TNT) board and the International Amateur Theatre Association. Art Cole took the very first amateur theatre production to Monaco in 1965 with the international amateur theatre festival organized by Princess Grace. As a result of his experience, Art organized the national community theatre festival in the USA which takes place every other year and sends theatrical productions to festivals all over the world. In recognition of his leadership, dedication and lifetime service, the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) named its Lifetime Achievement Award the "Art Cole Lifetime Achievement Award".
Midland Community Theatre is honored to have followed in the footsteps of our founder and great leader, and his wisdom and support will be greatly missed.