We had the good fortune of connecting with Katherine Tanner Silverman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katherine, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
We try to reframe risks as opportunity that is shrouded in fear. We attempt to challenge that fear with courage, optimism and planning. It’s all a matter of perspective and how you choose to manage it. That being said, Katherine, our artistic director, is definitely the risk taker, and Mike our managing director is the one who tries to be risk-averse, which can be beneficial when you’re attempting to find balance in a new organization.
As far as risk prior to establishing Mentalhaus, we agree that in our early careers we abstained from taking risks because fear of failure, criticism or going down the wrong path rendered us immobile. In reality we had not yet recognized that the “wrong” path could lead to the “right” path as it is never too late to change directions. Knowing this minimizes the threat level and recontextualize the idea of risk taking as opportunities to grow, even in our perceived failures. That’s something we would love to be able to tell our younger selves.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Mentalhaus is an exciting, new non-profit theatre whose work is created through embodied devising and is rooted in themes of mental health. Devised theatre is a process in which the entire creative team, from actors to technicians, create and develop a show collaboratively; everyone is involved in the creative process. Even those in attendance are an integral part of our productions playing a part in the storytelling experience.
We share thought-provoking and insightful productions, as well as learning opportunities and workshops, with the intention of building a global community, broadening perspectives, opening avenues for dialogue, and catalyzing acceptance and understanding around all facets of mental health.
We aim to create spaces that are accepting and welcoming of all and for all. We are inclusive and diverse with a cascade of humans involved in our processes. We hold space for every >body< and want to empower people from all walks of life to experience, participate, and grow with us.
We’ve gotten to where we are today by taking risks, learning from failures, and persevering, which are not always easy things to do. It’s something we need to remind ourselves of daily, that it’s okay to acknowledge fear as long as we practice being courageous enough to push through, and that acknowledging it allows growth in pursuit of progress.
Our story as a company has just begun, but our journey to this moment hearkens back to all of those risks we took along the way. We as a company and as individuals are always learning and growing, so there is no true completion in our work, there is only the journey through the space between.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Some of our favorite things to do with friends and family when they come to visit include:
A visit to Chinatown is a MUST!
It has some of the best architecture, food and one of our favorite parks, Ping Tom Park, located along the Chicago River which showcases the famous Chicago skyline.
Another great day includes heading to Lincoln Park for a stroll, a visit to the free zoo. We’d cap off a day in that area with a trip to The Chicago Diner, known for its famous vegan comfort food. You have to try their “milk”shake!
The architecture is in Chicago is world-renowned. We would take our friends on the river architecture tour to learn more about the city’s history of unique buildings followed by a picnic and hammocking at Lake Michigan.
Some of our favorite “touristy” things are:
A visit to Navy Pier where there are often free outdoor activities including live jazz.
Heading to the top of the John Hancock Center or the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower.
And of course, a visit to one of the Chicago style pizza restaurants.
There really is an endless list of activities to do in Chicago and we’re only just beginning to discover them in our mere two years here. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We’d like to recognize the long line of artistic mentors and family who stand behind us with support, encouragement and enthusiasm for our goals.
Founder photo by Jenni Carroll