The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno
Beautiful, awe-inspiring and unique, the Minack Theatre truly is a Cornish gem. Carved high into the cliffs above the turquoise sea and pure white sands of Porthcurno beach in the very far west of Cornwall, the Minack attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year – arguably as much for the stunning architecture and views as the wonderful performances held there.
THE HISTORY OF THE MINACK THEATRE
The Minack Theatre was created by a lady called Rowena Cade, who lived in Minack House - just above the cliff where the theatre now proudly sits. It was 1929, and local performers were looking for a venue for their next production, The Tempest. Ms Cade thought the cliffs below her garden would make an ideal backdrop for such an event, and so began creating the theatre we know and love today. With the help of her gardener, Billy Rawlings, Ms Cade worked tirelessly over the winter of 1931 to 1932, shifting rock and transporting sand to be used in concrete up from the beach below - until the theatre finally began to take shape.
In the years that followed, Ms Cade and her gardener continued to work on the theatre, creating more levels, more seating and the stage which is there today. Sadly the theatre had to close during the Second World War, and much of it had to be re-built following the war. A pill box was used as the theatre’s first box office, right up until 1998 when the onsite café and shop were built.
Until the creation of the first dressing rooms in the mid 1950s, performers would get ready in Ms Cade’s own home, Minack House; today’s dressing rooms boast probably the finest views of any!
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE AND DO?
Of course, we thoroughly recommend going along to a performance at the Minack; the views are incredible and you may even spot a dolphin or two playing out to sea. Just make sure you wrap up warm and dry, as you are of course rather exposed to the elements!
You can also have a look round as a day-visitor only; go backstage to see where the performers and directors prepare themselves, view the latest technology in lighting and sound, learn all about the story of the Minack in the Exhibition Centre, stroll round the sub-tropical gardens and then stop to enjoy the views and a cream tea in the café. Souvenirs and sweets are available in the gift shop.
... And after all that, why not go for a gentle walk along the coastal footpath or perhaps even a quick dip in the crystal clear waters below? This part of the Cornish coastline is arguably one of the most beautiful in the county, and many an hour can easily be whiled away just taking in the scenery on a fine day.
The Minack is host to all sorts of events and plays throughout the year. A full list of shows taking place in 2016 can be found here. Tickets are available at the theatre’s onsite box office (open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm) or by calling 01736 810181 (lines open between Monday and Friday from 10am to 4pm).
Image credits to the Minack Theatre and Matt Burtwell
OPENING TIMES AND ENTRY PRICES
Between October 31st and March 31st each year, The Minack Theatre is open every day from 10am until 3.30pm, with last entry at 3pm. The theatre is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day each year.
Between the beginning of April and the end of September each year, The Minack Theatre is open every day from 9.30am until 5.30pm, with last entry at 5pm. It is advisable to check opening times during the summer season, as the theatre closes on days when performances occur.
Adults £4.50 | Over 60s £3.50 | 12 - 15 £2.50 | 11 or younger 50p | Under 2 FREE
Concessions are available for groups of 10 or more - please contact the Minack Theatre directly for rates.