England-Cornwall Flag

   Minack Theatre >  Google™ Map

UK > England > Cornwall

England-Cornwall Flag
Cornwall Coat of Arms

Nov 2017

Open-air theatre, constructed above a gully with a rocky granite outcrop jutting into the sea.

Cornwall Coat of Arms

As a couple of nerdy swots, really, the prospect of seeing where the first communication cables came ashore back in the late 1800s may have you dot-dot-dashing to Porthcurno from Land's End.

All of these laid by submarine and as many as 14 linked to Europe and ultimately America. The turn, however, has been missed for the  Telegraph Museum so it's up a hill that's now too tight to turn around, idiot!

Still, nice views from up here down to the golden sands and the turquoise water of Porthcurno beach. This is part of an old friend, the South West Coast Path, of course, and the steep drop down is just about borderline for these wobblies and yes, that'll be the old vertigo.

If you squint, you can just about make out a white pyramid opposite that marks the site of an old cable hut but fishermen were furious when the National Trust™, no less, decided to demolish the dilapidated dwelling in the '50s.

This was put in its place to keep the nautical navigators happy who had previously used the hut to remind them of the rocks, you see.

  South West Coast Path

If you're walking England's longest National Trail anticlockwise from Minehead, you're about 240 miles in with just the 390-or-so to go to Dorset. If you're coming from Dorset then well done but it's still about 240 miles to Minehead.

Time to head back down to the museum for the low down on the sea bed's bottom lines but there's a distraction to be had up here.

There's something tropical-looking about this garden and there's an entrance to somewhere with a gift shop, which has gone and got Mrs Guff's full attention.

Yes, it's known that you know that this pair now know that'll be the  Minack Theatre and despite some humming and harring about the £5 entrance fee each, it is, quite frankly, fantastic!

It's open for business every May to September with 80,000 bums on concrete seats each season even during the rain. That might include an audience with  Kidz R Us, a youthful troupe from St Ives who have performed at the London Palladium, no less.

Rowena Cade moved here with her mother just after World War I, bought this bit of headland for a bargain and built Minack[1] House for them to live in.

Being a little that way inclined, she hosted a local production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the back garden but wasn't happy with the seating arrangements.

'Hang on! Them cliffs aren't doing much!' she said to herself one day and with the help of her gardeners, the rocky outcrop was carved and converted into an amphitheatre, obviously.

[1] From the Cornish meynek meaning 'rocky place'.

A fine example of one of those formidable females who, back in 1932, just got stuff done. Hauling granite up and down and carrying washed-up timber from the beach, the small stage was created within 18 months, Atlantic storms and all.

That meant, along with some simple seating, they were right on time for a production of a very different kind of  Tempest.

Much of what can be seen today actually came after 1932 since Rowena was another 40+ years on the job, making annual improvements to the place.

That includes the lighter touches and her hands styled the yet-to-harden cement that all has a Celtic ring to it.

Rowenna and her gardeners may be gone but  Niall and Jill Milligan have since transformed the top part with tropical plants that the Cornish climate just about supports, they say.

Now, not being botanical types,unless you're talking about a clear bottle with 'London' or 'Plymouth' printed on it, there's absolutely no idea what any of this is? Or these?

Has it been mentioned this place is, quite frankly, fantastic? It's so fantastic, in fact, here it is again... look!

As for the telegraph cables, well, they'll have to wait because the wag's being played from double physics, heads now turned to the arts...

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.

Old Willie clearly hadn't been to Newquay at the beginning of August.