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The Minack Theatre (Cornish: Gwaryjy Minack) is an open-air theatre, constructed above a gully with a rocky granite outcrop jutting into the sea (minack from Cornish meynek means a stony or rocky place). The theatre is at Porthcurno, 4 miles (6.4 km) from Land's End in Cornwall, England. The season runs each year from May to September, and by 2012 some 80,000 people a year see a show, and more than 100,000 pay an entrance fee to look around the site. It has appeared in a listing of the world's most spectacular theatres.
The theatre was the brainchild of Rowena Cade, who moved to Cornwall after the First World War and built a house for herself and her mother on land at Minack Point for £100. Her sister was the feminist dystopian author Katharine Burdekin and her partner lived with them from the 1920s. In 1929, a local village group of players had staged Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in a nearby meadow at Crean, repeating the production the next year. They decided that their next production would be The Tempest and Miss Cade offered the garden of her house as a suitable location, as it was beside the sea. Miss Cade and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, made a terrace and rough seating, hauling materials down from the house or up via the winding path from the beach below. In 1932, The Tempest was performed with the sea as a dramatic backdrop, to great success. Miss Cade resolved to improve the theatre, working over the course of the winter months each year throughout her life (with the help of Billy Rawlings and Charles Angove) so that others might perform each summer.
In 1944, the theatre was used as a location for the Gainsborough Studios film Love Story, starring Stewart Granger and Margaret Lockwood but inclement weather forced them to retreat to a studio mock-up. In 1955, the first dressing rooms were built. In the 1970s, the theatre was managed by Lawrence Shove. Since 1976 the theatre has been registered as a Charitable Trust and is now run by a local management team. Rowena Cade died on 26 March 1983, at the age of 89.
Minack theatre currently is used from Easter to September for a full summer season of 20 plays, produced by companies from all over the UK and visiting companies from the US. The theatre is open for visitors throughout the rest of the year. The 75th anniversary of Minack was celebrated with a production of The Tempest in August 2007, directed by Simon Taylor and performed by the Winchester College Players.
Tours To Minack Theatre
Cornwall & the Cotswolds: Small-Group Tour from London (5-days) BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $834
Duration: 5 days
Minack Theatre Reviews
Very unusual but interest place. The history of this place is fascinating. Very well kept and very interesting place to visit. Views from the site are stunning more »
Surely the most scenic theatre....in the world? The view of the Cornish coast is mesmeric, and the siting of the theatre one woman’s vision. You can spend a good hour or so just taking in the view... more »
What a fantastic place to visit. Amazing stretch of coastline and the views are stunning. The theatre itself is beautiful and is surrounded by beautiful plant's, some of them are available to buy. We enjoyed a theatre rehearsal and a cream tea. Very, very reasonable entrance price. We will be going back for a performance. Highly recommended
Wow anyone in the area must go. We saw a great play. Great place. Remember to take comfy cushions. Amazing food to buy but you can take your own food and drink. Stunning location overlooking the sea
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16 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM CANADA May, popular sights PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 6 days in Penzance BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, popular sights PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 46 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular sights PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 26 days in England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 21 days in Glastonbury, Salcombe & Cornwall BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, popular sights PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Penzance BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA October, popular sights PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium