Penlee Park is full of delights. Not just amazing trees and plants, it has an open air theatre set amongst mature trees.
Lovely on a sunny afternoon, but I can tell you it can get a bit nippy in the evenings, especially early and late in the season. Jumpers, rugs and flasks are recommended!
If you order in advance you can get a good veg curry or jacket potato beforehand though, to help with the warming up process. Or you can cool down with drinks and ice cream if it’s hot.
It’s run by the local town council, and has volunteers helping with publicity, box office sales and stewarding. There’s a varied programme of perfomances, not just drama but film, dance, music and events:
Many perfomances have a humorous outlook, and quite a few are aimed specifically at children and families. There’s always some Shakespeare.
The open air theatre was started in 1948, as part of the Cornwall Shakespeare Festival. That first year, the stage was made of borrowed wooden beer crates, covered with fake grass from a greengrocer’s shop. In the following year, Penzance Town Council commissioned a permanent stage built of packed earth within a granite wall, and privet hedges were densely planted to surround the theatre (and stop spectators getting a free look!)
The Open Air Theatre is just opposite Penlee House, a gallery and museum with a splendid cafe called The Orangery attached. More about this in another post.