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Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Minack Theatre. A magical experience

I'm getting there, Day 11. Because I got an earlier flight back, there was time to visit the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno, I went straight there from the airport. I love live theatre but have stopped going because the price of tickets has gone up and up, and as with a lot of other things, entertainment has been taken out of the, 'need' box and put into the, 'want' box, and we all know you can't have everything you want. But for this holiday I have allowed myself a few indulgencies, and a theatre ticket is one of them.

When I checked the web site I was thrilled to see there was a performance on the day I returned, well you can't not go can you. I didn't care what the performance was, just the experience of it was enough, so I booked it. They have an excellent web site by the way, with a live web cam and a 360 degree panoramic viewer.

Minack in Cornish means 'a rocky place'. The amphitheatre was created by Rowena Cade. She was born in 1893 in Derbyshire, and died in 1983, having built most of the theatre with her own hands. It is a remarkable story, if you would like to know more, please look at the history page on the web site.

But for now, here are my pictures. The seats are cut into the steep rocks.

The backdrop is the sea.

The titles of the plays performed at the theatre are etched into the backs of the seats.

The Royal boxes on the side of the rocks.

It's very hard to imagine such a dramatic setting, you have to be there to experience it.

Click on the pictures to make them bigger, then click again to enlarge more.

After checking in at Lands End Hostel I went back to the Minack for the evening performance. You are encouraged to come early and take a picnic, and lots of warm clothing. I took my packup, a warm jacket, a cushion, and a blanket to cover my legs. Believe me you need it, but I was as snug as a bug in a rug. At about the halfway point it was starting to get dark, and after the interval they put the spot lights on. With the moon directly behind the stage, shimmering across the sea, it was magical. A beautiful memory to take home with me.


  1. I`m glad you enjoyed it! Minack is such a magical place. My mum and dad loved their visit there when we took them, last September.

  2. I have just stumbled on your blog and happy to have done so. It is very good! Like you I am "retired" and enjoying life. Like your money saving ideas. Impressive. Kia ora!

  3. Welcome Joan, so pleased you have found me. Retierment is wonderful isn't it :-) Love your doodles, you have an amazing talent.

  4. I love that theatre too, many haooy hours spent there. It was written about quite a bit by Derek Tangye in his Minack books. I am not sure if they are still available, but his a wonderful story. He and his wife Jeanie moved to Cornwall and gre daffoldils, one of the people who worked with him later went to Tresco Garden. Their story is far too long to tell here. sadly Jeanie died from cancer, Dereck lived on his own for a while, but he too has gone.

    Magazines like womans weekly and my weekly used to publish his tales in instalments. I have just found this on the web, there is quite a bit about it, it is very interesting. I used to get his books from the library, and we did meet him once whist shopping in St Buryan.

  5. Thanks Silversewer, I had forgotten all about Derek Tangye. I read a couple of his books about 20 years ago, and was fascinated by his lifestyle. The web site is interesting, I wish I had found it before I went, then I could have looked for his house.

    I'll make a point of looking for his books in charity shops and car boot sales now, it would be great to read some of them. I will ask at the library to see if they have any.

  6. I do hope you find some Derek Tangye books Ilona but I find them exceptionaly hard to come by these days.
    Minack is a real experience isn't of those 'got to do things':-)
    We aren't having a hoilday this year because it is the 1st yr that our eldest son is at university and things are VERY tight trying help pay for some of it so that he isn't landed with a shed load of debt at the end. Just what message are the goverment sending to our kids who want to go to university!!!

    So I am having a very happy holiday through your pictures. Thank you.
    Take care,

  7. Ilona, wonderful blog and nice to see someone embracing life whatever age. I stumbled across your blog and love it! Keep it up and thanks for the money saving tips.

  8. have you read the 'Minack Chronicles' I think you would enjoy them

  9. Hi there, I was wondering if you would give me permission to use one of your images in a report I am writing for university? If you give me your name I can credit you for the photograph.


    1. Hi Rebecca. Yes you can use my photo. Ilona Diane will be fine. Thanks.


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