The Minack Theatre will just take your breath away! Carved into the cliff face of Porthcurno is the most spectacular amphitheatre, with the sea and sky providing a uniquenatural backdrop.
The theatre’s story is just as charming as the place itself – it still hold plays, frequently sold out but, you can tour at times when shows aren’t on.
If you’re looking for that extra special, world famous but still quirky place to visit on your trip to Cornwall, this needs to be on your visit list…
The Minack Theatre
Based in South West Cornwall right next to the prettiest beach in Porthcurno is The Minack Theatre.
It really should be on your ‘places to visit’ list, as I’ve never been anywhere else quite like it. Doesn’t matter if you’re a theatre fanatic or not. This place is magic.
It had been on my bucket list since I was little, I was told about it at school by my drama teacher. The thought of it stuck in my head for years until we started going back to Cornwall every year and I was determined to go. While I couldn’t remember the name, it didn’t take me long to track it down on Google.
That’s the best feeling isn’t it? Finding somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and realising it’s within travelling distance. Knowing you’re going to see something new, or that you’ve imagined for years.
It’s now definitely one of the first things I recommend to people when they ask me about cool things to do in Cornwall.
Inside the theatre
Heading down into the theatre please be aware that it is actually quite steep. Modern renovations like ramps and rails has made it more accessible to wheelchair users, and anyone who might require some additional help (Or those of you that aren’t fond of heights!).
As you descend the semi circle of stone seating different features reveal themselves to you. There’s a central sound and light ‘tower’ creatively made from stone, a circular stage, a balcony set up, a stone archway. You wouldn’t think it’s not even 100 years old! It looks like it’s been there forever.
Patrons over the years have dedicated seats, and it’s interesting to read the names, some are even famous.
The view is what makes it, I couldn’t ever imagine a better back drop to a show.
Rowena Cade is the power house woman who created the theatre, building it from scratch and mostly by hand – with the occasional stick of dynamite! She was very fond of her gardens and kept them extremely well tended, and they still are today.
She bought the land for £100 back in the 1920s when the First World War and father’s death took her from Cheltenham to Cornwall.
When an open-air production of a Shakespeare play had nowhere to perform, Rowena kindly offered her cliff garden. She just then had to come up with a solution for a stage and seating!
Rowena Cade Exhibition
You can find out all about Rowena, her life and all the details of the story of the Minack Theatre in the exhibition at the top of cliff.
Top Tip – I recommend visiting the exhibition first, it gives you a much better appreciation of Rowena’s work. And, you’ll marvel and the boulders her and the gardener move by hand, and the sand she brought up the steep cliff face to mix with cement.
It’s small but it really is packed with so many great details. My favourite is the black and white photography of the first productions and the programmes produced for them.
The Minack Theatre is a working theatre and is still putting on productions. They are so popular they’ve always been sold out when I’ve checked. I’ve tried to get tickets for three years in a row and must try and book them earlier next year!
It holds all kinds of events from the traditional Shakespeare plays to family friendly productions, comedy and music. It’s my hope one day to go and see one of the original plays it hosted – The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
While I write the most vivid descriptions nothing quite comes near to describing how wonderful the theatre it is, the scale or location. That’s why I found this video that really shows it off. While the music isn’t my thing, I can’t help but feel it shows you how special it is with some sweeping drone footage.
The visitor centre cafe is a cosy set up at the top of the cliff. The windows look out across the theatre, beach and sea and offer the most brilliant views.
We stopped for a spot of lunch, some delicious home made leek and potato soup and half a pasty, after a tour of the theatre. We went on a particularly cold day, so I was thankful for a break afterwards inside to warm up.
Being able to have a relaxing lunch and enjoy the view was a really nice little addition to our day. Also, I did feel a bit happier spending my pennies here and supporting the theatre. Am I getting old? I think that’s definitely something my Mum would say! But, either way, it’s true. 😂
Visit the Theatre
The Minack Theatre in Porthcurno has to be on your list of things to do in Cornwall. Soak up the unique setting and enjoy a show for a truly unforgettable experience.
Top Tip – if you know you are booking a trip to Cornwall, and want to head to the theatre book as far in advance as you possibly can. It really does sell out quickly and is extremely popular. Don’t miss out and be disappointed you didn’t get to see a show like me!
Don’t worry if you can’t book a show though, remember you can still visit at times shows are not on and tour the theatre.
Let me know if you’ve got any questions about The Minack Theatre or tell me if you’ve been here and what you thought about it.
If you liked this, you might like these posts too…
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- MYTHS, LEGENDS AND STUNNING SCENERY AT TINTAGEL CASTLE, NORTH CORNWALL
- ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT, CORNWALL
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