‘Cornwall’s extraordinary Minack Theatre is testimony
to one woman’s passion’ – Philip Johnston
The Minack Theatre is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful performance space I have ever had the pleasure of watching theatre in. Carved into the edge of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, this seasonal outdoor venue stands strong against the elements to deliver unique theatrical experiences to its audience.
The Minack Theatre has wowed audiences since the 1930s, with the threat of neither wind nor rain able to keep willing patrons at bay.
It first stole my heart in the summer of 2006 when, aged 13, my mother and I watched the actors of Searing Edge stage Merlin’s Child – Legend of Arthur during a most beautiful summers day.
Such was its draw, the following summer we sat through back-to-back performances of the Next Stage Theatre Company’s performance of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, adapted by Nicholas Wright. Two years later saw my third visit to this wonderful venue. This time it was Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, performed by those of Ilkley Playhouse, that was on show.
Whilst all three of these were special in their own right, it was whilst watching the performance of His Dark Materials that I really began to get a grasp of just how special the capabilities of this venue were.
If you have ever come across Pullman’s amazing work, then you will know that is is made up of three books; The Northern Lights; The Subtle Knife; and The Amber Spyglass (if you haven’t, I suggest you buy them now). As a result, Wright’s adaptation saw this trilogy performed on stage in two parts. The original London run performed these on alternating nights however, when taken on by Next Stage, the decision was that both parts would be performed on the same evening – part one as a matinee and part two as an evening performance.
Whilst a brave move, I certainly believe that the results justified the risk. Yes, sitting for that long wasn’t the most comfortable of experiences, but the helpful two hour-ish break between performances certainly made things easier. You see, as the books progress, the story-line gets darker. As The Minack is an outdoor theatre, the weather followed suit, with the sunset beginning just as part one drew to a close. This created a beautiful mirroring effect that lent itself superbly to the atmosphere of the performance. Furthermore, the beautiful summer’s day transcended into a magical starry night, giving part two a natural, ethereal feel that could not be re-created in a normal theatre space.
To conclude this particular post then, I urge you – whether you live in the England or you plan on visiting – make time for a trip down to see a show at this very special venue.
But please remember, whatever the weather, umbrella’s are forbidden.
To see my complete bucket list, click here