THE MINACK THEATRE
Cornwall, United Kingdom
Rome, that you?
This open-air theatre under the stars in Cornwall looks like crumbly Roman leftovers. Turns out it’s less than 100 years old. Shoulda moisturised.
Minack comes from the Cornish word ‘meynek’ which means rocky place. Ya think?! Where other people saw a bunch of rocks sloping off into the sea, Rowena Cade saw a theatre.
She had vision, people.
“My gardener, Billy Rawlings cut up [huge boulders] by hand, much as the English cut butter.”
Thanks for emasculating Englishman everywhere, Rowena. Seriously, though. Building this beast on the clifftop meant she had to schlep massive sacks of wet sand up from the beach.
Rowena had the mad idea to do it because she got involved in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a success and the next year they wanted to stage The Tempest. So Rowena offered them her cliff garden. As you do.
She started by making an area for people to sit. But she did it all with no diggers or heavy machinery. Instead she and her motley crew used hand tools and dynamite...
An episode of Grand Designs we would watch. She carried on building the theatre and making adjustments until she died.
Nowadays you can visit and stroll round the granite cliffs wondering what kind of crazy biceps Ro must’ve had. From the edge you can look out over the Lizard Peninsula and wave at a school of dolphins. Doolittle vibes.
Or you can get your culture on and catch a live performance. There are over 200 a year, a mix of plays, musicals and operas. The views are scene-stealing, though.
A late addition is the subtropical gardens which were planted after Rowena passed away. What started as a tiny patch is now a magical carpet of colour covering 1.5 acres. Geddit in your eyeballs.
This one’s a keeper - hit the Lucky button then save this trip for a happier time 💚