Columbia is home to many fine places to catch a flick, a stage performance or other entertainment. These theaters have helped some of our favorite festivals, such as True/False and Citizen Jane, come alive and keep us entertained time and time again. Though a buttered popcorn and a blockbuster can be an unbeatable combination, these local venues offer a few extras that make movie watching a prime experience.
A showing at Ragtag always feels like a VIP event. It’s more of an experience than a typical picture show. Between the intimate theaters, the availability of adult beverages and the personal movie introductions by Ragtag staff, it just feels particularly smart.
“The Ragtag experience is different for everyone,” says Tracy Lane, executive director of the Ragtag Film Society. “Our programming is so diverse, whether you’re coming to see your favorite film from 30 years ago or a brand new documentary that addresses an issue that is very personal to your life experience. The personal introductions from our projectionists before every screening are unique as is the fact that we share our building with the fabulous Uprise Bakery.”
Thanks to Uprise, Ragtag patrons can select from a savory made-from-scratch menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries and artisan breads. The Uprise bar is sure to impress the whiskey or craft beer connoisseur. Anything from Uprise is welcome in both theaters. Ragtag also has a few sofas to make you feel at home.
Its history alone is enough to make the Missouri Theatre stand out amongst the rest. The theatre’s design models the Opéra Garnier, was built in 1928, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also Columbia’s only surviving pre-Depression movie palace and vaudeville stage.
But a long life is not its only notable feature, says Robert Wells, interim director of the University Concert Series and the Missouri Theatre.
“We kind of consider ourselves to be the home or the hub for entertainment and performing arts in town, because we’re one of the few places in town that does play host to multiple types of organizations,” Wells says. “A lot of venues are privately owned or dedicated to particular types or genres of performing arts. At the Missouri Theatre, we have weddings, rock performances, children’s performances; every day is a completely different experience at the Missouri Theatre. It’s not always performing arts, but there’s always something going on at the theatre.”
Though the theatre is always bustling, it’s a locale that manifests a special experience for each guest. “It’s very small and intimate. There aren’t any bad seats, you’re not far from the stage and it’s a very personal experience to be in the theatre,” he says.