In the centre of the theatre an outcrop of rock almost divides the auditorium in two. On the front of this is the control room from which the technical aspects of shows are run. In the early days there was no powered lighting or sound system in the theatre. Electricity had to be provided by long cables run down from Minack House.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that a permanent lighting rig and control room was installed. The balcony you see in front of it, which we call the VIP box, is usually reserved for company members or used as additional technical space. Just on the right-hand edge as you look at it is a ledge from which Miss Cade regularly watched performances, sitting on the concrete slab, her legs dangling over the side, with one of her pet spaniels beside her.
There have been many memorable performances at the Minack. Everyone has their own favourites, but often they include moments that no other theatre can match. Fireworks frequently fill the sky at the end of shows and we’ve even had aeroplane flypasts cued into the action. One memorable night in 2012, we staged a midnight matinee of the musical Titanic, on the centenary of the day the unsinkable ship met its end. As the ship’s crew fired off their distress signals on stage, they were echoed by more rockets out in the bay, where the Penlee lifeboat was standing off the rocks.
A celestial intervention is regularly seen on summer evenings, when a full moon rises out of the sea off Lizard Point making a silver track across the ocean straight to the Minack stage. Performances at the Minack have to work in harmony with the elements, and though this sometimes means wind and rain, it also creates moment of pure magic.
Continue up the steps to the top of the gully. Turn right at the top and follow the path, keeping right until you reach the viewpoint over Porthcurno Bay.