The Minack Theatre is a bespoke cultural offering and an absolute must-see attraction when visiting Cornwall. Where else in the country can you sit in an open-air theatre, carved into the granite cliffs that overlook the stunning panorama backdrop of Porthcurno Bay?
Following a recent visit to this idyllic location, I have compiled together the top reasons why the Minack Theatre holds such cultural significance and is a theatre like no other.
The enchanting history of the Minack Theatre lends itself to the remarkable experience, creating a cultural experience like no other. A visit to the theatre by day provides an insight into the fascinating history of how Rownea Cade, a visionary theatre lover, moved tons of granite over the winter of 1931 and 1932 to build the foundations of the theatre that stands today, with only the help of her gardener. The very first performance was performed on the 16th August 1932, where members of the local village community staged a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From this unprecedented success, the theatre has grown and grown, to the point that today the theatre stages 20 plays in the summer season from Easter to September, all of which are a sell out success at the box office.
Photo credit: Cornwall Guide
A Midsummers Night’s Dream 1929
Photo Credit: The Minack Theatre
The theatre itself is as enchantingly archaeological as it gets. Made entirely of granite building stones, the theatre has the Atlantic Ocean as an interchangeable background to the sun-spilled terraces where the performances are staged. The views are absolutely breathtaking. Prepared to be as fixated on the stunning surroundings as the incredible performances. And if you can’t get enough of these beautiful ambiances, Porthcurno beach is just around the corner if you fancy a visit.
Photo Credit: Visit Cornwall
Whether you want to soak up some of Cornwall’s finest weather during the day, pasty in one hand, Cornish cider in the other, or enjoy the gorgeous sunset over Porthcurno Bay at a matinée performance with some wine and cheese, the theatre offers a diverse range of performances to be enjoyed day or night. Performances range to suit that of a family audience such as Hansel and Gretel, to other productions which include an annual performance of a Shakespeare play as well as musicals and comedies. Examples of current performances for 2017 include Hansel and Gretel, Pride and Prejudice and the Vicar of Dibley.
Photo Credit: The Minack Theatre
Better known for being the home of surfing, pasties and ice creams, (also very important attributes), Cornwall as a hub for cultural activity is often forgotten about. When we think of creative cities we typically think of London and its exciting buzz of creative activity. Or perhaps Glasgow, the music capital of Scotland. But actually, Cornwall has on offer an increasing amount of creative activity that replicates that of a large city, making Britain’s most southerly country a unique cultural region that sets it aside from anywhere else in the UK. Photo Credit: Visit Cornwall
Cornwall as a Cultural Capital
It is any surprise then that Cornwall is set on becoming European Capital of Culture in 2023. An ambitious move you may think, but with its unique environment that allows culture and creative activity to flourish, what’s to say Cornwall cannot succeed in obtaining the bid for European Capital of Culture by the end of the decade. After all Cornwall is thriving with cultural industries that offer wonderful diversity of creative talent such as the Tate St Ives and Newlyn Art Gallery. Cornwall is also home of the renowned Kneehigh Theatre Company that tours all over the country. These cultural industries combined with the magic that is the Minack Theatre aid in cementing Cornwall’s place within the cultural sector.
Photo Credit: Cornwall Live