"Peace Through Corn"

An original two-man play based on the historic relation between Iowa famer Roswell Garst and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev , titled “Peace through Corn," will be offered over the coming weeks to audiences across Iowa.  The first two performances are in Ottumwa on Wed, Jan 26th, and in Waukee on Thurs, Jan 27th.  The next performances are in late February at:  Guttenberg, West Union, Indianola, Coon Rapids, Perry and Council Bluffs.



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

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 private citizen diplomacy during the post-war era.

With support of the 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, eight performances of “Peace through Corn” are being hosted by cultural organizations throughout the state, and offered to the public at modest cost or free of charge.

The play was written by Iowa playwright Cynthia Mercati and produced by Robert John Ford.  The part of Khrushchev is played by actor 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, a non-profit based in Coon Rapids, Iowa, supports rural vitality through environmental protection, rural arts, historic preservation, recreation, and cultural diversity.  See our Khrushchev in Iowa pages for hsitoric photos, film, documents, and citizen memories related to Khrushchev’s 1959 visit to Iowa and to Coon Rapids.  The Garst Farm visited by Khrushchev is now owned by the non-profit Whiterock Conservancy and is open to visitors to Whiterock Resorts. www.whiterockconservancy.org

Ticket information: CGP is not selling tickets on our website.  Please contact each venue for information, and/or we will post additional ticket information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 – 7:30pm
Ottumwa, IA
Presenter: Indian Hills Community College
St. John Auditorium, 525 Grandview Avenue
Open to the public and free of charge



Thursday, January 27, 2011 – 7:00pm
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, February 20, 2011 – 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM with Production beginning at 7:00 PM
Guttenberg, IA
Presenter: Guttenberg Development & Tourism
Guttenberg Municipal Auditorium, Guttenberg City Hall  502 S. 1st St.

Dinner Theatre Performance

Meal Tickets: $12


Monday, February 21, 2011 – 7:00pm
West Union, IA
Presenter: Main Street West Union / North Fayette Fine Arts Auditorium
Performing Arts Center, North Fayette High School, 600 N. Pine St.
$5 for children and adults


February 24, 2011 – 7:00pm
Indianola, IA
Presenter: Iowa History Center at Simpson College
Lekberg Hall, 701 North C St.


February 27, 2011 – 2:00pm
Coon Rapids, IA
Presenter: Coon Rapids-Bayard Community School District
High School Auditorium, 905 North St.


February 27, 2011 – 7:00pm
Perry, IA
Presenter: City of Perry
McCreary Community Building, 1800 Pattee St.
Open to the public and free of charge


February 28, 2011 – 7:00pm
Council Bluffs, IA
Presenter: Bluffs Arts Council
Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Street

John Earl Robinson (left) and Michael Cornelison play Nikita Khrushchev and Roswell Garst in the original performance of “Peace Through Corn,” performed in August 2009 at the "Khrushchev in Iowa" 50th Anniversary Commemoration. 

Robinson playing Nikita Khrushchev.


Cornelison playing Roswell Garst.