Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Minack Theatre







On a windswept, exposed Cornish cliff top one lady turned her idea for an open air auditorium into reality. She started work in 1931.
 
There was a lot against her; she didn't have modern day machinery, her only workers an elderly gardener and his assistant, she was forced to turn her home and land over to the government for the duration of the Second World War.
 
When granite became too expensive to bring in and use for seating she was able to mimic the existing stone using concrete. She hand carved intricate designs into the seats using an old screwdriver  as well as carve out 90 steps to the beach below. The steps were put to good use when she singlehandedly carried 12 huge lengths of salvaged wood from the beach below to the cliff top.
 
She was 38 when she started to work on her dream and the stage and seating would not be completed by her and her two assistants for over 25 years.
 
She worked on the theatre and it's surrounding gardens until she was in her mid 80s and continued to work on future plans right up until her death when she was 90.
 
The lady's name was Rowena Cade and the theatre is the Minack Theatre.
 
It's gardens are now tended by a large number of volunteers. Because of the mid climate and careful planting you will see flowering plants whatever month of the year you visit. Specially selected night flowering species fill the space with scent ready for evening theatre performances.
 
On the windswept day that we visited hardy geraniums flowered and huge succulents were planted side by side.
 
It's a very special place that I will return to again and again.







 
Joining in this week with Mammasarus #HDYGG
  
Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

12 comments:

  1. WOW now THAT is a tale to inspire. What a wonderful woman and how heartening to know that her work goes on in the form of volunteers. I want to visit Cornwall more than ever before now, I've not been before and it's on my wish list for this year.
    Just beautiful photos - thank you for sharing this, I feel motivated now, despite a bit of drizzle outside x

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    1. Hi Annie - she really was incredible. There's more detail on the Minack Theatre website and a beautiful photo of Rowena sitting in a wheelbarrow looking out over the cliffs.
      I think you would love Cornwall, there's so many gardens that can grow sub-tropical plants and a lot of them are free entry or cheap to go in x

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  2. What a wonderful story, and a great looking place. Lovely shots, too x

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  3. ohhhh I just remember the Fibonacci Sequence with your photos! Nature is so perfect! #HDYGG

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    1. I confess I had to Google Fibonacci sequence, but I see what you mean...so many plants look like that!

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  4. isn't it a brilliant place! we've visited a few times while on holiday and the garden really is so inspiring x

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    1. It's really lovely Charmaine - I last went with my junior school almost 30 years ago, but it won't be such a long gap next time!!

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  5. Love the story but i see your very talented photographer and i love your landscape shot how do you get that toyland quality to the pictures i have always wondered how to achieve that i see them on the BBC all the time and would love to know how to do it

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    1. Hi Helen thanks for your comment! All my photos were taken using my iphone. I use the chrome filter quite often on landscape shots, it seems to make reds and greens richer in saturation.

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  6. Amazing! Next time I visit Cornwall I'd like to see this and I love the idea of night flowering plants. Special place :)

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  7. What an inspiring story! It sounds so romantic with the aromatic night plants!

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