If you were asking me some days ago which is the most spectacular open-air theatre in Europe, probably my answer would be the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece or the Seebuhne in Lake Constance, Austria but I didn’t know that there is a third one in the same league as the above! The Minack(rocky place) theatre is a really a small wonder at the far end of Cornwall at Porthcurno, close to Land’s End. A small open-air theatre constructed on a granite cliff and overlooking the spectacular panorama of the Porthcurno bay in the Atlantic ocean. This theatre was the vision and labour of Rowena Cade who managed to construct this theatre at the end of her garden with the help of her gardener. The very first performance, the Tempest was on 16 August of 1932. The theatre opens between April-September with various performances (see the programme at https://www.minack.com/calendar-2/
View of the theatre from the top.
The name of each theatrical performance has been curved on the granite’s seats.
View from the cafe of Minack Theatre
The place has its own microclimate and the view is beyond imagination. As I was admiring the view (pic. below), the beach with the gold sand and huge waves, one gentleman next to me told me “I have never imagined that I can experience something like that in England. It seems to me that I’m somewhere in the Continent”.
Rowena Cade, who lived in Minack House (picture above), decided that the cliffs below her garden would be the perfect setting for a theatre and over the winter of 1931 and into 1932 she and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, moved endless granite boulders and earth, creating the lower terraces of the theatre, much as they are today”(source at https://www.minack.com/our-history-1)
Rowena Cadet (1893-1983) an inspiring woman who used her money, labour and influence during a very hard period in Europe (between the two World Wars) and left a remarkable legacy. Sometimes the willpower and determination of an individual can make wonders!