My first long road trip to Cornwall landed me in place called Falmouth, in truth I was expecting a quiet Cornish town that might have been something like Broadchurch. I was in for a surprise.
My visit was taking me to a friend studying Acting at Falmouth University, and it seemed to me that the tip of Cornwall was an odd place for the UK’s leading Arts Uni. But boy, was I wrong. It the perfect place for it.
Heading into the university, I was lucky enough to catch some of the Third-Year Final Dance, Music and Theatre performances. These formed part of the AMATA Department Festival, showcasing some of the best examples of individuals heading out into the Creative and Cultural Industries. Falmouth University is indeed to stranger to a famous face from our screens and theatres. Some of these names include singer Ben Howard, news presenter Sophie Long but its most impressive connection undoubtedly is its Chancellor, the wonderful Dawn French.
So, on this particular evening I was to see some very raw and engaging theatre taking place. The students of the AMATA department gave performances that were truly outstanding. Whilst there I enjoyed a huge variety of performances from a variety of playwrights. These included ‘Finding the Sun’ by Edward Albee, a haunting look at the love and loss endured by four couples. ‘The Resistible rise of Arturo Ui’, a play penned by the famous Bertolt Brecht in 1941, featured a story about a Chicago mobster, and acted as a satire of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Finally, I saw ‘Shoot/get treasure/repeat’, a play by Mark Ravenhill, an altogether different experience!
After such an impressive display of theatre, we were in sure need of relaxing drink in the town centre. I may have thought that the that would be all for the display of creativity for the evening but once again I was mistaken. What I found upon my first night in the town was in fact a place so full of creativity and culture that it was surely on par with the leading cultural cities of the UK. In such a small high-street I had never quite seen such a huge range of creative expression. As an example, I could describe the ‘The Hand’ Bar. Each week some of the best pieces of expressive art, be it photography, painting or sketch, are displayed along the walls of the bar. Best of all its sourced very locally, all coming from the University itself.
Heading elsewhere, I saw probably the quirkiest bar I’d ever seen. Called ‘Hillbilly’s’, I found me and my mates sitting in roll top bathtubs, perching on beer barrels, and making a fuss of two resident miniature dogs who live above the pub with the landlord. Further along the street I was then at ‘Beerwulf’, a book shop and bar rolled into one! I’m not beginning to mention that all primarily sell locally sourced and very individual craft beers
So, tick to just a few examples of Theatre, Dance and Visual Art. What about music, if I wanted even more? Falmouth has that too. Many a venue host a wide variety of music, not limited to live jazz music in 5 degrees west, and an open mic folk night in Finn McCouls.
Due to the fact I enjoyed my first visit so much, I was in no way hesitating to fill up the tank and make the trip back. In a town that saw its main function as once being a huge naval port, it may still seem a surprising place for a such a culture hub. To me it’s everything you could want in a creative city. It has culture, its developing swiftly, it’s an arts haven and a hub for expression. However, it isn’t actually a city, sometimes to find these things you don’t have to be in one, you’ll just have to take a look yourself!