The Most Perfect Place on the Planet to see ‘The Tempest’

Before we discovered the closely guarded secret of the utterly fabulous perfection of Pembrokeshire, I thought we’d end up living somewhere in Cornwall. Both my husband and I (along with everybody else in the UK) spent many happy childhood holidays there and loved the rocky coves, immaculate beaches, the quality of light, and well, the romance of the place. My favourite part is right down in the south – the rugged sparseness of the coastline around Zennor, and the lush valleys and sandy coves to the south. Whenever we go, we always try to catch a performance at the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno – as long as the weather’s kind.

Minack theatre

all photographs copied from the Minack Theatre website

Set into the rocks, with breath-taking views across the bay, the Minack Theatre has to be one of the best places on earth to see live theatre. In 1931, thinking the cliffs below her garden had the makings of a great performance space, Rowena Cade and her gardener began to move earth and granite boulders to create some of the terraces which are still in evidence at the theatre today. The Minack has seen many changes and improvements over the past 80 years, but none of it would have happened without the vision and determination of it’s founder, Rowena Cade.

Rowena cade

Rowena Cade 1893-1983

I was lucky enough to see a performance of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ there. Watching Prospero working his magic on the shipwrecked characters against the backdrop of a stunning sunset could not be more dramatic, and the enchanted ambience was further enriched by the sound of the sea rhythmically massaging the shore below. I cannot imagine a more appropriate place to have seen it, it was utterly perfect. I’d heartily recommend a visit if you’re ever in Cornwall, it’s such a magical place – certainly one not to be missed.