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Serving: IA
'Peace Through Corn' Brings History Alive

'Peace Through Corn' Brings History Alive

Beginning this week, Iowa audiences will be able to see a stage play that is well written and acted, as it explores the historic relationship between Iowa farmer Roswell "Bob" Garst and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s.

An original two-man play based on the amazing historic relationship between Iowa farmer Roswell Garst and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev , titled "Peace through Corn," will be offered over the coming weeks to audiences across the state of Iowa. The first two performances are in Ottumwa on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:30  p.m. and in Waukee on Thursday Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.

In February the play is scheduled for six performances at these locations: Guttenberg (time to be announced) Feb. 20; West Union 7 p.m. Feb. 21; Indianola 7 p.m. Feb. 24; Coon Rapids 2 p.m. Feb. 27; Perry 7 p.m. Feb. 27 and Council Bluffs 7 p.m. Feb. 28. The auditoriums where the performances will be held on these dates are listed below, along with the websites where you can obtain more information about the performances at each location.

Unlikely friendship between Iowa farmer and dangerous dictator

The production is based in part on real historic dialogue as reflected in the two men's letters, memoirs and speeches. "Peace through Corn" thus brings alive the unprecedented personal friendship between an Iowa farmer and a powerful and dangerous communist dictator.

During a fearful time when the world was poised at the brink of nuclear disaster, Garst and Khrushchev forged a unique human bond based on their mutual fascination with agricultural progress and their shared love of a good laugh and a ferocious debate. Garst's personal outreach to political leaders across the Iron Curtain also represented one of the first instances of Citizen Diplomacy during the post-war era.

With support of Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as the Iowa Community Cultural Grant Program of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the eight performances of "Peace through Corn" are being hosted by cultural organizations throughout the state.   

Website has much more information about "Peace through Corn"

The play was written by Iowa playwright Cynthia Mercati and produced by Robert John Ford. The part of Khrushchev is played by John Earl Robinson and that of Garst, by Michael Cornelison.  Each performance will be introduced with an original song produced by Coon Rapids' song-writer Chad Elliot, and followed by a discussion session led by Liz or Rachel Garst, Roswell's granddaughters.

Creating Great Places is a non-profit organization based in Coon Rapids, Iowa, which supports rural vitality through initiatives in the areas of environmental protection, rural arts, historic preservation, recreation and diversity. See for additional information on "Peace through Corn," as well as numerous photos, film, historical documents and citizen memories related to "Khrushchev in Iowa."

Garst/Khrushchev play scheduled for Iowa

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Ottumwa, IA
Presenter: Indian Hills Community College
St. John Auditorium, 525 Grandview Avenue
Free and open to the public

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 – 7 p.m.
Waukee, IA
Presenter: Waukee Arts Council
ArtsCentral, 405 Maple Street
$10 for adults, $5 for students, tickets available at Waukee hardware or at the door

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 – early evening (time to be announced)
Guttenberg, IA
Presenter: Guttenberg Development & Tourism
City Auditorium, 502 S. 1st St.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 7 p.m.
West Union, IA
Presenter: Main Street West Union / North Fayette Fine Arts Auditorium
Performing Arts Center, North Fayette High School, 600 N. Pine St.

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 – 7 p.m.
Indianola, IA
Presenter: Iowa History Center at Simpson College
Lekberg Hall, 701 North C St.

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 – 2 p.m.
Coon Rapids, IA
Presenter: Coon Rapids-Bayard Community School District
High School Auditorium, 905 North St.

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 – 7 p.m.
Perry, IA
Presenter: City of Perry
McCreary Community Building, 1800 Pattee St.

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 – 7 p.m.
Council Bluffs, IA
Presenter: Bluffs Arts Council
Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Street
Venue: To be announced

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