Posts Tagged ‘Cornwall’

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Clifftop Drama in Cornwall

April 5, 2012

Minack Theatre © Martin Hartland

It is all very well me passing the week plotting and planning a fortnight in April of family motoring between glittering bays, sapphire waters, golden sand beaches and lost hilltop villages in Corsica (all in the name of work I hasten to add). But I must absolutely not forget to book what every Cornwall aficionado assures me will be the most magnificent night out of our post-Olympics Cornish detox later this year.

Tickets for summer performances at the Minack Theatre go on sale 2 April. And such is the aura, drama and magnitude of this astonishing coastal venue that gold-dust tickets are snapped up in seconds. Wedged high on a crag between rock and velvety moon-lit night, the open-air cliff theatre is an incredulous mirage of terraced stone seating (bring cushions and rugs – no umbrellas, plastic raincoats sold in situ), vintage rockery gardens planted in the 1920s, and immense views of the timeless big blue and Porthcurno Bay far below. Perhaps not the best address for those prone to vertigo.

To know that such dizzying magnificence grew out of a humble garden project initiated by a theatre-loving dame called Rowena Cade, kind enough to lend her cliff-top back garden with sea view to the local amateur dramatics society for a performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in 1932, makes the experience all the more sacred. This season’s repertoire includes David Copperfield, Macbeth and As You Like it, Cat Among the Pigeons and Molière’s The Hypochondriac, oh, and the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet.

Just between you and me, a ticket to any star-topped performance will do. I simply want to sit on moonlit stone, stare out to sea and play the hopeless romantic as cliff-top drama unfolds beneath stars before me. (And did I mention the glorious afternoon beach picnic of fresh crab sandwiches and clotted-cream ice cream I’m planning beforehand between sea scampers and sandcastles on the soft white sands of Porthcurno beach?) My family will never forgive me if I forget to book.

Booking Essentials: The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 6JU, Box Office +44(0)1736 810 181