New Rockford, ND

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Autumn Update from DPRCA

October 7, 2015 -
The leaves are falling, the air is turning crisp, and pumpkin flavoring is prevalent in… well… just about everything. Fall is officially upon us! This time of great change is especially well represented at the Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford, ND. Exciting new developments are on the horizon for the DPRCA and this intrepid reporter will convey just a few of them to you, the gentle reader.

I recently sat down with two of the company’s representatives to talk about some of the preparations that are currently underway. Erin Greiner, manager of the Latte Lobby, and Elliott Schwab, Artistic Director for the DPRCA, were kind enough to give me some of their time. We chatted over chai lattes (pumpkin spiced, of course) and the duo animatedly clued me in on a few of their upcoming events.

“We just got the pumpkin flavoring in so we’re kind of trying it in everything!” says Greiner who, with Schwab, also makes up one half of the company’s marketing team. Schwab laughs at her enthusiasm but doesn’t disagree.

“We even joked about trying a pumpkin dessert flatbread,” he quips. The flatbreads to which he refers gained universal popularity at the Garden Bistro – the restaurant at which patrons can dine before the DPRCA’s many productions. Deb Belquist, Managing Director, decided to add the Bistro Flatbreads to the Latte Lobby menu in a move to offer residents of the small town a pizza take­out option. Current flavors include: bacon tomato, Cowboy (pulled pork and barbecue sauce), chicken bacon ranch, and pepperoni. In the coming weeks, she hopes to add a buffalo chicken, a sausage mushroom, and a “pick six” option – basically a build­your­own flatbread.

“People can either call in and order ahead of time or they’re more than welcome to come in, if they’re okay waiting a few minutes. We offer both dine­in and carryout options,” says Greiner, who goes on to show me the charming bistro that is set up in the Opera House on the premises. It is there that the conversation turns to upcoming events.

On Monday, October 19th, the DPRCA will play host to an exciting visual arts event. Regional artist, Kathy Monti, will be in town (for one night only!) to provide a course in mosaic art – each guest will craft a unique mosaic art picture frame that will be theirs to keep. The event will begin at 6:00 pm and will take place in the basement of the Old Church Theatre. All art materials and snacks will be provided with the cost of a ticket ($60.00 per person) and beverages will be available for purchase a la carte. Payment is required at the time of registration and, as there are only fifteen spots available, interested patrons are strongly encouraged to call in right away!

At this point in the interview, a timer dings in the distance and Greiner excuses herself to retrieve our Cowboy flatbread. Schwab takes the opportunity to call my attention to the movie screen that spans the width of the stage and the projector affixed to the ceiling.

“We just got done with the Manhattan Short Film Festival,” he says, “but we thought it would be awesome to keep the theatre setup like this and show a scary movie around Halloween!” So, on Friday, October 23rd at 7:00 pm, they will show George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead.

“You know, it’s not super scary by today’s standards but it’s one of my favorites and I hope to introduce it to folks who maybe haven’t seen it. Or haven’t seen it in a long time anyway.”

The film, made in 1968, is widely considered to be the first “modern” zombie movie, “but isn’t, like, super gory or anything,” he continues. “We’re pretty much targeting ages 14 and up.” Flatbreads will be available for purchase starting at 6:00 pm. In addition to the flatbreads, patrons can purchase coffee drinks and smoothies from the Latte Lobby as well as beer and wine options at Jack’s Tavern (all located under the same roof of the Latte Lobby/Opera House!). Tickets to the film are free but food and drinks will be available a la carte.

As the interview comes to a close, and Greiner hands me the tinfoil­wrapped leftovers of my flatbread, she mentions that rehearsals are officially underway for their Christmas musical, The Gifts of the Magi. Running November 13th through December 13th, the show is based on one of O. Henry’s most famous short stories. The duo was modest with the details (“More info. coming soon,” says Schwab, tongue firmly in cheek) but made sure to talk briefly about the DPRCA’s newly implemented tiered­price ticketing options.

“For the first time, we’re offering a student ticket option,” says Greiner. “Students ranging from 5 years old all the way through college can now get tickets for $18.00. College students should be prepared to show a valid college ID to the ushers when they come to the show. In addition to the student prices, we still have our normal $25.00 adult tickets.”

Tickets for all previously mentioned events are on sale now. You can purchase by calling the box office (701.947.2174) or by going online to “We’re also on Instagram!” shouts Schwab, as I walk out the door. “Follow DPRCA for fun and exclusive behind­the­scenes pics and videos!”

In addition to the down home hospitality, I was genuinely impressed by the sheer amount of projects that the DPRCA has in the tube. As the company continues to expand and develop in new and exciting directions, you can bet that E.E. Penrose, intrepid reporter, will be with them every step of the way. Until then, dear readers, be happy in your work!


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