Minack Theatre

Places to Visit

Welcome to the Minack Theatre

The Minack is a unique theatre perched on the cliffs high above the Atlantic ocean. We put on a full programme of drama, musicals and opera every summer, together with music, comedy and story-telling.

Our history

Carving a theatre from a cliff

The theatre which you see today has seen big changes over the past eighty years but if a member of the audience from the very first performance on 16 August 1932 were to visit the theatre today, they’d certainly recognise the place.

In 1929, local drama enthusiasts put on an out-door performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a grassy meadow about a mile inland from the Minack. It was a great success and a couple of years later the players were looking for a venue to perform The Tempest.

Rowena Cade, who lived in Minack House, decided that the cliffs below her garden would be the perfect setting, and over the winter of 1931 and into 1932 she and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, moved endless granite boulders and earth, creating the lower terraces of the theatre, much as they are today.

The Tempest was big success, even gaining a positive review in The Times, and over the next few years Rowena and her gardeners made many improvements, building a throne for Antony and Cleopatra and creating the beginnings of the stage structures you see today. The stage was still grass-covered, players changed in Minack House, and the audience bought their tickets from a trestle table before clambering down steep slopes to the theatre.


Rowena Cade 1893 – 1983


Cornwall Youth Theatre Company – The Wind In The Willows – March 29

A Minack Production – The Secret Garden – April 9 to 19

Helston Theatre Company – Whistle Down The Wind – April 20 to 22

A Living Theatre

The Minack Theatre is one of the world’s most famous outdoor theatres. Today, we welcome more than 110,000 people a year to our performances and 170,000 people come just to look round, experience our stunning views and learn more about our story.

The idea for the theatre was born when Rowena Cade, who lived in Minack House at the top of the cliff, decided to create a place for local drama enthusiasts to perform Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Over the winter of 1931 and into 1932 Rowena and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, moved endless granite boulders and earth, creating the stage and the lower terraces of the theatre, in the same place as you see them today. The first performance was in August 1932.


The first performance of The Tempest – 1932

Over the past 80 years, the theatre has evolved into today’s professionally-equipped venue which brings the very best amateur and professional theatre to the far west of Cornwall. Rowena Cade’s unique vision is thriving, and today’s audiences continue to  experience the magic of live theatre in this amazing place.



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