Minack in Cornish means a stony or rocky place and the Minack Theatre is an open-air theatre, constructed above a gully with a rocky granite outcrop jutting into the sea, by Porthcurno, 4 miles from Lands End in Cornwall, England. No words can do it justice - please look at pictures on the website via the external link.

The theatre was the brainchild of Miss Rowena Cade, who lived at Minack Cottage. In 1929 a local village group of players had staged Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in a nearby meadow, repeating the production the next year. They decided that their next production would be The Tempest and Miss Cade offered the garden of her cottage as a suitable location, as it was beside the sea. Miss Cade and her gardener made a terrace and rough seating, hauling materials down from the cottage 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, toiling hard 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. Since 1976 the theatre has been registered as a Charitable Trust and is now run by a local management team. Nowadays, the theatre is used from June to September for a full summer season of 16 plays, produced by companies from all over the UK and visiting companies from the USA. The theatre is open for visitors throughout the rest of the year. An anniversary production of The Tempest is staged every 10 years.

Rowena Cade died on March 26, 1983 at the age of 89.

External Link

Official website with pictures and full history