One thing a lot of people said to me when I announced I was moving to Cornwall was “what about the theatre?”. You see, I like a good show. I’m not even that picky. I’ll go to the bad ones too. I wrote my own show last year and toted it around London before taking it to Edinburgh. I even occasionally reviewed shows. We’ll just keep that one between us because I was never one to shout it from the rooftops – nobody likes anybody who barges in waving their press pass. But I feel like I know my shit.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that I like going to the theatre, and people thought that would have to stop when I got down to Cornwall.
Oh em gee how wrong they were. There’s loads of places to go to see great theatre in Falmouth, in Truro, and even further afield. I definitely haven’t been everywhere yet, but I fully intend to.
Cornwall theatre #1 – The Poly
The Poly is in the middle of the High Street in Falmouth, and it’s basically all of my arty dreams come true. There’s a gallery, a shop selling lots of stuff from local makers, and my personal favourite – a lovely auditorium. I’ve seen some great comedy there. And one slightly dodge double bill of plays, but you can’t win ’em all. There’s even a seat sponsored by someone with the same surname as me, which I take as a sign. And not just a sign that my surname is common as muck. The best part is it’s a 10 minute walk from my flat. Which is not going to be of any benefit to anyone else, but is bloody great for me.
Cornwall theatre #2 – Hall for Cornwall
This Truro theatre feels so much like the one I used to work in that I felt the subconscious desire to get one of the good pinnies before they were all gone as soon as I walked through the door. It’s a big room, and one for the TV comedians and all the musical theatre tours you know you don’t need to see again but you know you’ll probably end up seeing again anyway (*cough*Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat*cough*). Plus, they meet with local theatre-y types and work to get you connected with people you might work well with. I’ve already had a pumpkin spice latte-fuelled session of careers counselling with a very understanding arts development lady called Kirsty.
Cornwall theatre #3 – AMATA
A studio space which tends towards the highbrow. This is on the Penryn campus of Falmouth University. If you studied drama a decade ago like I did you might struggle to see the show you’re watching in the midst of a blackout caused by how amazing their facilities are, but that’s a risk us highbrow culture-buffs have to take. I’ve only seen one show here, but after that one show they held a Q&A for the students and I wasn’t technically invited, but nor was I asked to leave, so I stayed. I think the lecturer might just have assumed I was a student with low attendance. Either way, you can totally relive your uni days.
Cornwall theatre #4 – The Burrell Theatre
You know when you went to fancy private school and your drama department had a theatre so good professional companies would use it in the evenings to do tour shows? ME NEITHER. But that’s what they have at Truro school. It’s another studio, it’s run in conjunction with Hall for Cornwall, and it’s lovely, even if you do seem to end up sitting amongst some kind of Parent’s Association no matter where your ticket is.
Cornwall theatre #5 – Princess Pavilion
I haven’t made it to this one to see a show just yet. However, I have been there an absurd amount of times to do voting (I think this might be the longest stretch so far without me having to go and draw a cross in a box because somebody wants to make a point), to catch minibuses to work events in the car park, and to cut through the gardens. Because they have very nice gardens, and also hold lots of liquid-based festivals. We’re talking tea, beer, etc etc. It seems like a high volume of the shows at Princess Pavilion are tribute acts, which is fair enough but absolutely not my bag. But it’s all over my to-do list to catch Miracle Theatre next time they do anything there. Which is, like, six weeks. So everyone’s a winner.
Special guest theatre – The Exeter Phoenix
As the geography fans out there will have noticed, this one isn’t in Cornwall. However, it’s only maybe 2.5 hours on the train from Falmouth. Which sounds like a lot but isn’t really that much longer than some (all) commutes I’ve had in my life. It’s a super-cool arty place with loads of different spaces of all different sizes. I went to the Women of The World festival there earlier in the month and it was exactly the kind of place I want to hang out in all the time. Except maybe with fewer people who have the exact same hairstyle as me. Not that they’re not awesome (obviously), but I like feeling special.
This doesn’t even begin to cover the Cornish theatre scene. There are super-famous places like the Minack (which I haven’t been able to go to yet but have been obsessed with since my A Level drama teacher told me about it and at this point there’s almost no way it could live up to my expectations) and loads of other smaller, super-cool (I assume) venues, travelling things, repurposed spaces… The list goes on.
We’re not just sitting in a cultureless hinterland down here, guys. Don’t worry about us. We’re fine.