Lullaby of the Tides

by Jan Stroud 10 Jul 2023 - 11 Jul 2023

presented by the Minack Theatre and Cornwall Music Service Trust
and performed by students from West Cornwall schools and arts groups

In a land suffering from a terrible drought, the village children embark on a quest to find the Rainmakers and save their country.

This spectacular song-cycle was inspired by a traditional story of the Tzutujil Maya from Guatamala. It draws on ancient Inca belief systems about the power of animals and the wisdom they inspire.

Learning secrets about ‘medicine’ and ‘power’ from animals of the rainforest, Chep discovers his own ‘true colours’ as he helps the Rainmakers to overthrow the evil Kongan Hab, recover the Rain-capes and finally discover the biggest secret of all from the Rainmaker himself.

Lullaby of the Tides will be the third of our combined schools, music projects.  In 2021 we presented Ocean World to packed audiences, not to mention the partners of the G7 leaders, and in 2022 we staged One Small Bird, the Ballad of the Red-necked Phalarope.

“A triumph” (The Cornishman on Ocean World)

Every child who performed was buzzing with excitement … at the end of the performance and all learned so much from the experience” (Head Teacher, St Hilary School on One Small Bird)

Review by Jenni Balow


They all got the t-shirts as the children of the sun and the moon, presenting Lullaby of the Tides, a song cycle that draws on ancient Inca belief about the power of animals and the wisdom they inspire, for this Minack Education Production.

The gentle, lyrical story of travel into the rainforest and the lessons to be learned from the natural world, was touchingly told by local primary school youngsters wearing an array of joyous t-shirt tones, snaking around the stage as giant anacondas and forming chirping pools of green frogs, a flock of lime green parrots and facing-off hungry bears.

They represented the true colours of song and nature and of wellbeing as they invited their audience to "empty your mind, leave the world behind" and to connect and unite.

Their search for a rainmaker was simply too effective and torrential rain washed-out the first scheduled  performance, but quick-thinking by the Minack team and teachers ensured that a good-sized audience was invited to watch an early run-through during a remarkable gap in the downpour, by students from Mousehole primary, St Mary's Church of England, Penzance, Nancledra, Madron Daniel Church of England and Trythall Community schools.

The second group were the luckier ones, excitedly presenting a well-rehearsed show to a full house of family and friends and visitors the next day in fair weather. They were from St Hilary, Heamoor, Ludgvan, Pencoys and St Levan primary schools.

The youngsters were joined by soloists Emily Kershaw, Tilly Jones, Elsie Graham, Bryher Gemmill, Joshua Arnold, Elizabeth Coad and Minnie Dean with the Cornwall Youth Chamber Choir, along with Cape Cornwall, and St Ives schools singers.

They were backed by a superb on-stage band led by Stella Pendrous, on keyboard, with Sarah McDonagh playing a haunting flute, woodwind and brass alongside Helston College students Jude Bloor, bass guitar, Seth Williams, drums and Jacob Jewell, guitar.

Loco For A Coconut, a delicious combination of Latin American and Afro Caribbean rhythms, compete with steel drumbeats, was a funky treat.

Narrators were Deryn Pascoe, Tabitha and Poppy Ashbee and Flo Allan, and deft signalling for the deaf, was part of the action.

Lullaby, written by Jan Stroud, is the third of the Minack's combined schools music projects and the cast was conducted by musical director Patrick Bailey. Co-director was Christine Judge, vocal coach and leader of the Youth Chamber Choir.

The fun-loving, ever-professional John Brolly, who always gets the best out of youngsters, was overall director, with choreographer Grace Murdoch, stage manager, Jordan Lever, production manager Simon Hutchings and producer Zoe Curnow.

The Cornwall Music Service Trust and many teachers, parents and helpers supported the project.