The Minack Theatre
...Cornwall's iconic clifftop theatre
Seeping history from every nook and cranny, the Minack Theatre is an iconic, world famous open-air theatre built 200 feet above – and jutting into - the Atlantic Ocean.
The theatre, near Porthcurno, 4 miles from Land's End in Cornwall, was built in the style of a Roman Amphitheatre in the 1930s.
Arguably the world's most spectacularly and uniquely-located theatre, the Minack (meaning ‘a rocky place’ in Cornish) is carved into the cliffs overlooking Porthcurno Bay and hosts productions every year between the months of June and September for a summer season of plays.
The visitor centre – open all year - recounts the remarkable tale of Rowena Cade, the spirited local lady who conceived, planned and built the theatre, overseeing it until her death in 1983 at the age of 89.
Construction began after Rowena offered the use of her garden to a local amateur dramatic society as the location for a production of The Tempest.
Rowena, aided by her gardener, hauled materials down from her nearby cottage and up the winding paths from the beach below to construct the terraces and seating areas in time for the production.
The first production was a success and Rowena decided to expand on what had initially been a hobby and laboured to improve the facilities for the following summers' productions.
More plays and musicals were held here as the facilities improved, and the Minack became an established theatrical venue with 750 seats.
Today the theatre is a registered charitable trust and puts on a variety of productions including plays, comedies and musicals, attracting visitors from the world over.
Shows are staged annually from June through to the end of September, with a production of The Tempest staged every ten years as a celebration of the theatre's anniversary.
The theatre and visitor centre are neighboured by the sub-tropical Minack Gardens, showcasing stunning exotic plants and ideas based on the cliff garden developed by Rowena Cade in the 1930s.
Minack Theatre is more than just a trip to the theatre; a unique, awe-inspiring experience that is one of Cornwall’s absolute must-sees. Just make sure you hire a cushion!
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015