Givens Performing Arts Center bridging the gaps in age and culture

PEMBROKE, NC (WMBF) Givens Performing Arts Center, housed within the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, is a major cultural arts outlet for Robeson County.

Givens Performing Arts Center opened in 1975, but the memories WMBF News Reporter Brandon Herring shared of how it's still offering arts that people can't find outside of large cities stem from his grade school field trip years ago..

For some people the Givens Performing Arts Center is a regular visit.

"I love the Givens Performing Arts center," says Elliot Samuel from Rockingham. "We've probably seen a dozen shows a year, so at least once a month."

For those who aren't familiar, it's a variety of events that keep them coming back.

A variety of shows find themselves in the Givens Performing Arts Center, from the Royal Winnepeg Ballet's version of Moulin Rouge, Eagles tribute bands, music from "Kool and the Gang," stories of the Civil War and even Chinese acrobats.

"We offer programming that folks in our part of the state cannot get anywhere else. We do a number of things that the folks in Charlotte are doing, the folks in Greensboro, even Raleigh," said Patricia Fields, Director of the Givens Performing Arts Center.

Director Fields says Givens often attracts high-quality touring shows for one night as they travel through the area. That works out to make ticket prices cheaper than you'd find in those bigger cities.

"It's easy if a show is coming out of Richmond or coming out of the Virginia area and going down the coast, for them to just pop off the interstate and come to Givens Performing Arts Center," said Fields.

That's just what Givens calls the "Broadway and More" series. There's also a Distinguished Speaker Series and Theater Performances for kids.

Carol Murphy, a teacher from the Red Springs area, said she brings her students to those shows.

"I think that's great for those students who don't get exposed to those things very often." Murphy said.

Patricia Fields says the staff works hard to bring in performances with broad appeal, from traditional to modern, and she's seeing that blend in the audience too.

"We're seeing some of our customers who have been with us since 1975 sitting beside a 17, 18, 19-year-old freshman student coming in. They're bonding and forming relationships. So it's a great thing," Fields said.

Givens is also home to other types of live music such as concerts for symphonies and folk music groups.

The music and theater departments at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke use Givens Performing Arts Center various performances as well.

It's not far off of Interstate 95, and a rewarding trip for anyone who holds a ticket.

"I'm sure if everyone knew, every performance would be sold out. It's just that good," Elliot Samuel said.

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