The totally awe-inspiring Minack Theatre is like no other place on earth. Carved into the cliffs surrounding Porthcurno, the unique venue sits a stone’s throw away from Penzance and is a must for any theatre lover.
It’s an absolute treat to soak up the beauty and entertainment of the site, which features a gorgeous subtropical garden as well as the amazing open-air theatre, and the story behind its construction proves to be just as inspiring as the stunning views from the stalls.
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The theatre’s roots can be traced back to a small production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that Rowena Cade hosted in her sheltered garden all the way back in 1929. After a successful second hosting, Rowena offered to stage “The Tempest” on the edge of a cliff to fit the rough and stormy mood of the play and set to work creating a stage for the performance in 1932. With their bare hands, Rowena and her team carried wooden beams, sand, and other resources up hundreds of her handmade steps from Porthcurno beach to the top of the cliff to create the seats and structures we relax in today. Using only a rusty screwdriver, she inscribed Celtic designs and intricate lettering into the drying sand-and-cement seats, offering one of the many personal touches that make this theatre so special.
Neither harsh weather nor a world war could stop Rowena from completing her mission, and she continued to refine the Minack Theatre in her mid-eighties, creating balconies and converting box offices, before she sadly passed away aged 89. However, her incredible legacy lives on through this amazing achievement which still holds performances to this day.
As well as breath-taking nature of the theatre itself, the surrounding beaches and cliffs also offer vistas you’ll be hard passed to find anywhere else. Porthchapel is one of many picturesque beaches tucked away along the south coast and is a short walk away from the theatre, providing the perfect sheltered spot for a swim before a performance. The views surrounding the Gwennap Head Daymark are just as stunning as those from the theatre with the weathered landmark providing the perfect spot to gaze across the rugged headland. Furthermore, if you venture along the southwest coastal path past the beautiful Penberth Cove you’ll find yourself in the small village of Treen which houses the extremely cosy Logan Rock Inn; a charming 16th century pub that serves local real ales and warming food.
There is a huge bundle of performances to experience at The Minack ensuring there is something to see for everyone. The theatre host’s everything from family friendly shows to Shakespeare performances with music and comedy shows also making up an impressive line-up. The shows take place using state of the art theatre equipment which elevate the sense of drama that the rural theatre exudes while ramped access, hearing headsets and an audio description service ensure that the shows are accessible to everyone. Food is also available at the theatre, with the in-house café offering a delicious selection of cakes, snacks, and drinks, and you are also permitted to bring your own food to enjoy while watching cliffside performances. So, whether you want to relax and enjoy an unforgettable show or treat yourself to a cream tea and stroll around the stunning sub-Mediterranean gardens, the Minack theatre is well worth a visit.
Explore our cottages in Penzance and witness the jaw-dropping work of Rowena for yourself.