They say you can always rely on your family when things get really bad.
Well of course, things did get really bad and how fortunate we felt when we were able to offer our ‘oven ready’ show when the lock-down was eased.
Hoping for the best, we had been re-rehearsing THE STRONGMAN in our family ‘bubble’ with our son Lochlann on piano and his cousin Kesha as our Circus Girl, and we were raring to go but with nowhere to play.
That is until The Minack Theatre at Porthcurno in Cornwall bravely took the lead and became one of the first open-air venues in the country to re-open its doors and welcome a socially-distanced audience.
Who cared if we had to lug the scaffolding, a piano, two circus wagons, a fence and a lamppost down a 100ft cliff. It’s the ‘get-in’ from hell unless you have a show specially designed for the space and at least a dozen crew to help with the carrying. Of course, we had neither.
We had the most un-Minack of shows – lasting only 50 minutes, with no interval, no dialogue, a cast of four, and with a heavy set and associated props (including The Strongman’s weights and a magic box full of broadswords!) But, fortunately for us, it was just what The Minack wanted. We did three ‘sell-out’ shows (limited to a socially-distanced audience of 230 instead of the usual capacity of 700) and it was a fantastic and surprisingly emotional experience to be working again at last, and at such a spectacular venue.
Since then our curtailed season has also included performances for Soapbox Theatre in Plymouth and the Arts Reach rural touring scheme in Dorset, with still some to come for the Villages in Action touring scheme in Devon. A big thank you to all these organisations and others throughout the country that have worked so hard to promote the outdoor arts in these most challenging of times.