What’s on this week in Cornwall?
Find the fun with my curated guide to hip happenings in Cornwall and beyond this week. 15 brilliant things to do from exhibitions to theatre, comedy, steam trains and guided walks.
ART EXHIBITION: Movements, North Coast Asylum, Newquay (until 14 Oct)
North Coast Asylum, Newquay’s newest art gallery situated in a grade II listed Gothic Church Hall which has been renovated into a brand new Art Gallery & event space opened this autumn. It’s your last chance to view their first exhibition ‘Movements’ – a celebration of our landscape, sky & sea – as it comes to an end this week. Contributing artists include Nina Brooke, Jack Davis, Martha Holmes & Justine Eavis. Open Mon – Sat 10:30 – 4:30pm.
THEATRE: Loveplay, Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, (14-23 October)
Find outdoor theatre, music, comedy and opera at the stunning, world-famous Minack Theatre – in socially distanced fashion, of course. This week sees the staging of Loveplay (14 – 23 Oct) which due to the intriguing sounding explicit topic of seduction, transaction and romantic aspiration that takes place on a single spot of ground across 2000 years, it is really only for older/mature teens and adults.
THEATRE: Sterts Theatre on tour, dates throughout October
Entertaining shows for all the family from Sterts Theatre now on tour round selected Cornish venues showing some of their sell-out summer shows. This week watch Twelfth Night in Liskeard (14-16 Oct) – also keep an eye out for Guys and Dolls at the St Mellion International Resort nr Saltash (22-25 Oct) & the BFG in Launceston (28-31 Oct).
MUSIC: TWICE AS NICE WITH LYNN FLORKIEWICZ & MALCOLM STAR, The Acorn, Penzance (15 Oct)
Blues and jazz guitar duo – Lynn is considered one of the best female UK guitarists.
The star of BAFTA-winning film, Bait, returns to Cornwall this October with his Greatest Hits show. Catch the show this week in Penzance or St Austell.
WALK: Tin Coast Walking Tours (16 October)
Tin Coast Walking Tours offer three fun, unique and creative guided circular walks around West Penwith and the Tinners Way, visiting many fascinating and rare Cornish antiquities (each walk approximately 8 kilometres / 5 miles). Musician, Ben Sutcliffe from ‘The People’s String Foundation’ has teamed up with actor/storyteller Mary Woodvine to tell local myths and fables along the way. Booking essential.
TICKETS ON SALE: Fisherman’s Friends Unlocked and Unleashed Tour 2021 (16 Oct on sale date)
One of Cornwall’s most loved groups, The Fisherman’s Friends, are going on tour of the UK next year (Plymouth is the nearest if you want to see them in a big venue). Bound together by lifelong friendship and shared experience for more than 25 years the Fisherman’s Friends have met on the Platt (harbour) in their native Port Isaac to raise money for charity, singing the traditional songs of the sea handed down to them by their forefathers.
In 2010 they signed a major record deal and their album “Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends” went Gold as they became the first traditional folk act to land a UK top ten album. Since then they’ve been the subject of an ITV documentary, released the hit albums One and All (2013), Proper Job (2015) & Sole Mates (2018) and played to hundreds of thousands of fans at home and ab
RAILWAY: Bodmin & Wenford Railway Open Days, Bodmin General (17-18 Oct)
No running passenger trains but visit the station, shop and cafe, explore the exhibition and view locos and coaches on display in platforms one AND two (for the first time). There will also be work taking place around the railway, with teams of volunteers busy as ever working on restoration projects visible from the platform including the Diesel Group on Saturdays and the China Clay Wagon Project team on Sundays. No need to book to visit in advance, suggested £5 donation.
FAMILY: Autumn Roots, Wheal Martyn, St Austell (17 Oct – 1 Nov)
The Wheal Martyn woodland offers the perfect place to be an explorer, play hide-and-seek, get creative, have a picnic or simply relax and enjoy nature! Autumn-inspired, hands-on activities at Wheal Martyn are free with museum entrance fee/annual return pass and include Clay Modelling in Nature (create your own clay insect, animal, plant or landscape using objects in the woods to decorate) and a woodland pumpkin trail with a secret code.
HARVEST: Heligan Harvest, Lost Gardens of Heligan (17 Oct – 1 Nov)
Celebrate the fruition of The Heligan Garden & Estate year with an exciting array of displays, demonstrations and autumn inspired menus – plus the return of the Heligan Sunday roast – pre-booking for eating and walking in the garden is essential, even if you’re a local pass holder or member.
ICE-SKATING: Eden Project (17 Oct 2020 – 21 Feb 2021)
Cornwall’s biggest outdoor ice-rink returns to the grounds of the Eden Project this October – and due to Covid restrictions you’ll have even more space on the ice-rink itself this year, so plenty of space to practice your axels and spins. The cafe is serving up sweet treats too, just don’t forget your face covering to wear rink side. Pre-booking online is essential, and you’ll need a locals pass or to pay to access Eden itself too. Also opening on 17 Oct is Eden’s spooky halloweden activities – see more in our half term guide.
ART EXHIBITION: A Prehistoric Cornwall, Kurt Jackson, Jackson Foundation, St Just (until 7 Nov)
This autumn sees the launch of ‘A Prehistoric Cornwall’, the latest exhibition from Kurt Jackson, arguably one of Britain’s most celebrated living landscape painters. This body of work sees Jackson visit the relics of prehistoric Cornwall and captures the county’s extraordinary range of ancient monuments with a new series of paintings and sculpture. The landscape is full of these monuments, some are obvious and picturesque – a stone circle-while others are incongruous; hidden and overlooked despite their size and historical significance, cut-off and smothered by dual-carriageways, roundabouts and car dealerships.
‘A Prehistoric Cornwall’ is displayed beautifully within the award-winning Jackson Foundation gallery, an expansive carbon-positive ex-industrial building tucked away down a side street of the charming post-mining community of St Just-in-Penwith. Massive white walls and exposed black steel allow Jackson’s canvasses, as monumental as they are in their own right, space to breathe as the impressive 300m2 of polished concrete floorspace allow the viewer to become immersed in the artwork from a distance or inspect the minute detail up close.
NEW! ATTRACTION OPENING: Bodmin Jail, Bodmin
Billed as the most exciting new attraction in the South West since the Eden Project after an £8.5 million re-development, Bodmin Jail re-opened this month. Using state-of-the-art technology and the latest theatrical effects, the Dark Walk – a major addition to the attraction and the first of its kind in the region – will treat visitors to a truly immersive and interactive discovery of Cornwall’s most haunting histories. Stories of Cornwall’s murky past will be retold, and visitors will be transported to life within the walls of the 18th century prison where they will learn the gritty reality of smuggling, mining and the everyday hardships of the jail’s most infamous prisoners.
ART EXHIBITION:The Vanity of Small Differences – Grayson Perry, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange (until 2 Jan 2021)
Grayson Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, tackling subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality, religion.
Inspired by William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress six tapestries, each measuring 2m x 4m, chart the ‘class journey’ made by young Tim Rakewell and include many of the characters, incidents and objects Perry encountered on journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells, and The Cotswolds for the television series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry, first aired on Channel 4 in June 2012.
In the series Perry goes on ‘a safari amongst the taste tribes of Britain’, to gather inspiration for his artwork, literally weaving the characters he meets into a narrative, with an attention to the minutiae of contemporary taste every bit as acute as that in Hogarth’s 18th century paintings.
& just over the border into Devon
DRIVE-IN: West End Extravaganza, Exeter Racecourse, Sat 17 Oct
Jazz hands at the ready. Stars from London’s glittering West End are here to entertain with classic and contemporary musical numbers, with vocals from many of the West End’s top performers who between them seem to have had lead roles in just about every piece of musical theatre I’ve ever heard of, so something for everyone.
FAMILY: Sidmouth Science Festival, online, Fri 9 – Sun 18 Oct
Learn about fossils, dinosaurs, stars, energy, light, weather, boats, rockets and much more: the seaside town’s annual investigation into the science in our every day lives goes online, which means easy to enjoy without having to be there in person.