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Yes you May! What’s on locally this month

Culture vultures, unite! We've got excellent exhibitions, foodie and literary festivals, thumping good theatre, garden snoopings, and so much more happening across Cornwall this May.

THEATRE: Calvino Nights, The Minack, 1 – 19 May and then The Lost Gardens of Heligan from 27 – 29 May

One of the most anticipated theatrical events of the year, Calvino Nights is a must for anyone who ever fell under Kneehigh’s spell, anyone who loves stories or just enjoys a good night out!  Mike Shepherd and Elayce Ismail, invite you to join the marvellous Mr Calvino and his motley troupe of tale-tellers, song-makers and fire-raisers for an unforgettable ride through life.

EVENT: Celtic & Co new shop opening, Newquay, 24 May

Celtic & Co. have a brand new store at Unit 2 Lodge Way, Indian Queens Industrial Estate, St. Columb, Cornwall, TR9 6TF that opens on 24 May – they’ve a special event from 10am to 4pm, showcasing their new summer collection, where we’ve managed to wangle Muddy Stilettos readers 10% off in store only by quoting MUDDY10 at the till.

MUSIC: Bude Folk Festival, Bude, 26 – 30 May

Bude & Stratton Folk Festival is a friendly festival by the sea in Bude, North Cornwall with the emphasis on enjoying & sharing traditional acoustic music.

ART: Cornwall Open Studios, various locations across Cornwall, 28 May – 5 June

There are many galleries large and small across Cornwall, where you can see the work of local artists but during this special event, almost 300 Cornish-based artists will open their studios to visitors. Some of these artists may not show in Cornwall at all, giving a unique chance to see their work in their workspace and to meet and talk with working artists around the county. Many artists are also offering workshops throughout the week and if you are looking to buy a piece of art, this is a great opportunity to see a range of work or possibly commission something. Participating studios will display an orange ‘O’ outside, so you know you are welcome to pop in and say hi, though opening times vary, so check the catalogue before making a special visit.

Green Man Weekend, Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park, 28- 29 May

The giant figure of the Green Man returns to Mount Edgcumbe as a centre piece looming over the event sitting on his throne of leaves and bark. Created by artists and volunteers, he will be presiding over stalls, entertainment, refreshments and lots of activities. Entry to the event is free of charge- all day parking £5 per vehicle.

NEW! ART EXHIBITION: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Jonathan Michael Ray, Tate St Ives, opens 28 May

This new exhibition exploring the works of two artists connected with West Cornwall opens at The Tate St Ives. While separated by time, as well as the media and form their works take, both artists draw inspiration from the local landscape, exploring the idea that there is more to experience in nature than can be found on the surface.

GARDENS: Tregrehan Gardens Plant Fair, 29 May

ART EXHIBITION: David Hardy’s ‘Beyond Blue’, North Coast Asylum, Newquay, ends 29 May 2022

For his second solo show with at the North Coast Asylum, David uses his minimal colour palette of blues and greys to portray not only flowing abstracted landscapes but work that is deeply emotive too. His richly layered landscapes deployed in velvety washes of blues are masterfully intertwined with raw canvas to create these expansive, beautiful paintings. This 21 piece collection features some of the largest works that David has ever created. The increased scale works just beautifully with his aesthetic. All the works are hand framed by David himself in his stunning studio hidden away in the Cambrian Mountains.

ART EXHIBITION: Mermaids’ Tears, Jackson Foundation Gallery, St Just, ends 13 August

Mermaids’ Tears charts Kurt Jackson’s campaigning work to address the blight of plastic in the ocean, and draws attention to the resin pellets or nurdles from plastic manufacturing (colloquially known as mermaids’ tears) that pollute the environment.

EXHIBITION: Shackleton’s Legacy and the Power of Early Antarctic Photography, The Shipwreck Museum, Charlestown, ends October 2022

The Shipwreck Museum in Charlestown has teamed up with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to present an exhibition that celebrates a pioneer of polar exploration, Sir Ernest Shackleton. This year marks the centenary of Shackleton’s death in 1922 during the Quest expedition to Antarctica, and is super timely given that the wreck of his ship Endurance has been found 107 years after it became trapped in sea ice and sank off the coast of Antarctica. The explorer’s legacy, extraordinary expeditions and the power of early Antarctic photography will take centre stage at Charlestown’s Shipwreck Treasure Museum from 9April and is included with entry.


CULTURAL EVENT: Padstow Obby Oss 2 May & St Ives May Day, 1 May

If you fancy seeing some traditional May Day celebrations, Padstow and St Ives will be making merry the old fashioned way. In usual years particularly keen revellers in Padstow can be seen singing in the streets from midnight on 30 Apr with the main Obby Oss celebrations begin the next morning with local people parading and dancing with their Obby Oss’ (hobby horses) – however where 1 May falls on a Sunday everything shifts forward a day to Mon 2 May. St Ives’ May Day celebrations were revived relatively recently but involve choirs, brass brands, dancing round the may pole and the crowning of a May Queen and King.

{LAST CHANCE} ART EXHIBITION: Thao Nguyen Phan, The Tate St Ives, ends 2 May 2022

Thao Nguyen Phan’s most extensive UK exhibition to date is now open at The Tate St Ives. Internationally renowned for her poetic, multi-layered artworks Phan explores the historical and ecological issues facing her homeland Vietnam, while speaking to broader ideas around tradition, ideology, ritual and environmental change. Through storytelling, and the mixing of official and unofficial histories, her work often amplifies narratives that are less well documented, or in some cases obscured. This exhibition will bring together a selection of Phan’s videos, paintings and sculptures from the past five years, alongside new work exhibited for the first time. This includes First Rain, Brise Soleil, a major new multi-channel film commission, and an accompanying series of paintings.

MUSIC: Cornwall International Male Choral Festival, various locations, ends 2 May

Bryn Martionec of Canada’s Atlantic Boy Choir (left) with Samual Steinert of Germany’s Ffortissibros and their choir pals on St. Michael’s Mount.
Image by Phil Monckton for Cornwall International Male Choral Festival

60 choirs have just arrived in Cornwall for the long weekend festivities for the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival which started on Thursday and runs until May 2nd. An eclectic mix of youth and adult male choral ensembles from all over the world the festival offers live music and diverse programmes of choral music. Find 50 concerts and competitions in more than 40 venues right across the Duchy from St Ives to Falmouth, Newquay to Saltash and at Truro’s Hall for Cornwall who welcome two headline acts – Only Men Aloud and the internationally renowned Voces8. Plus, there will be two days of competitions at Truro Cathedral to see who will be crowned the 2022 CIMCF champion choir.

ART EXHIBITION: Ben Sanderson’s ‘Flattened Disk’ at Alma Art Space, Newquay, ends 3 May

Alma Art Space’s current pop-up location in a surf-board factory in Newquay comes to an end this weekend with Ben Sanderson’s show.

EVENT: English Nationals surf competition, Watergate Bay, 6 – 8 May

Over 180 surfers will battle for champion titles in 20 different divisions, from Under 12’s through to the 45+ kahunas at the English National surf competition, one of the highlights of the surfing calendar. Watch from the beach, cliff top, or, the Living Space at Watergate Bay Hotel.

FESTIVAL: The Roseland Festival, ends 7 May

Folk and jazz, history and art, films and photography, choirs and quartets, walks and talks – The Roseland Festival offers a diverse programme of events with something for everyone. This year’s highlights include Will Keating and Special Guests, Fal River boat trip, the Tresillian Singers, a vineyard tour at Knightor Winery and much more over the week of events.

CULTURAL EVENT: Flora Day, Helston, Sat 7 May

The people of Helston have been celebrating the ancient tradition of Flora Day for hundreds of years. It is a spring festival to mark the end of winter and arrival, vitality and fertility of spring. The shops and houses are decked out with bluebells, laurels, gorse and other greenery and the dancing begins from seven in the morning, continuing all day. Eighty couples dance through the streets – as well as several shops and houses – to drive out the darkness of winter and usher in the light of spring.

EVENT: Ethy House Gardens Open Day, PL22 0NF, 7 May, 2 – 5pm

Enjoy the stunning gardens at Ethy House – stroll through the bluebell woodlands and enjoy the beautiful gardens that have been restored by the Leslie family.  Delicious refreshments will be served in the courtyard and the Pelynt Male Voice Choir will be providing the entertainment.  Admission is £4 each, dogs on leads and children are free. And there’s plenty of free parking too!

THEATRE: David Walliams’ Awful Auntie, Bedruthan Hotel, Mawgan Porth, 7 & 8 May

Bedruthan’s unique clifftop location (usually known for its sea view sensory spa garden)  will be transformed into a beach side outdoor theatre, welcoming families, couples and theatre boffs alike for a bite of culture as the sun sets. Pick your spot and get comfortable with cosy rugs and garden cushions laid out across the sea front meadow. Guests can make the most of the open-air experience with bespoke hampers available to purchase with tickets, promising a range of sweet and savoury treats.

EVENT: Enys Gardens Bluebell Festival, St Gluvias, nr Penryn, Falmouth, ends 8 May

Enys Gardens Bluebell Festival
The impressive carpet at Enys Gardens

The historic Enys Gardens are famous for their incredible display of bluebells but you’ll have to plan this one a bit and book in advance. While there is a Mansion House, it’s not open to the public aside from occasional events – here it is all about the gardens, which are said to be some of the oldest in Cornwall. As with all good 18th century, a lot is formally laid out in an Italianate style with long vistas, but here the 30 acres have been split into themed and many much less formal than you’d expect.

CYCLING: The Eden Classic, The Eden Project, 8 May

Riders prepare to saddle up for the return of Cornwall’s biggest cycling event, The Eden Classic – with a choice of three spectacular rides that take in the most dramatic and scenic parts of the south coast of Cornwall. All routes conclude at the Eden Project, where riders can enjoy the sight of the world-famous Biomes as they approach the finish line in the Eden Arena.

EVENT: The Working Boat’s Big Spring Beach Clean, Greenbank, Falmouth, 9 May

The clean-up, which is in association with renowned Cornish charity Surfer’s Against Sewage, will be taking place at low tide on the pub’s very own private quay from 3pm until 5pm, as part of The Million Mile Clean campaign- which is the largest and most effective volunteer beach cleaning project in the UK.

Helpful volunteers for this beach clean will be joined by teams from The Working Boat, The Greenbank as well their sister hotel based in Truro, The Alverton, for what is expected to be an exciting community event.

As a thanks to those who donate their time on the day, volunteers who are over 18 will be offered a refreshing pint of Atlantic pale ale, which has kindly been donated by Rock based Sharp’s Brewery. FREE, register online.

LITERARY FESTIVAL: Fowey Festival6 – 14 May

A nine-day literary festival based in Daphne du Maurier’s beautiful hometown of Fowey, Cornwall. Featuring a wide range of guest speakers with talks, panel debates, workshops and concerts – including Roger McGough, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Patrick Gale, Lauren Child, The Fishermen’s Friends, and many more.

EVENT: Space Matters Talk Series, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro 6 and 13 May

Want to deep dive into space & learn more about what’s out there? The first talk will be focused on Exoplanets & Space Research with the epic Nathan Mayne & Tim Etheridge. Tickets £5.

EVENT: Spot the Artist Postcard Sale, The Falcon Hotel, Bude, 11 – 13 May

Friends of Bude Sea Pool (FoBSP) is bringing over 150 artworks created by professional artists and many well-known celebrities to Bude. Come and view 100+ A4 mounted ‘Coastal Perspective’ creations, displayed anonymously! Can you spot the professional artist or celebrity? All available to purchase, your artist’s identity revealed on collection from 6pm on Friday 13th May. Is your card drawn by Amanda Holden, Laurence Reed, Keith Lemon, Sharron Davies, Linford Christie, Paul Burrell, Johnny Cowling, Alastair Campbell,  Susannah Constantine, Sir Tim Rice, Joe Lycett, or someone else altogether?

FOODIE: Cider Salon, Coombeshead Farm and Knightor Vineyard, 11 – 12 May

Wild Wine School is going back out into the wild with a series of events over the summer focusing on sustainability in the drinks trade and centring on a different theme every month. Talking to experts, innovators and change makers from the drinks trade on the first Thursday of the month across the summer at The Vine by Knightor amongst the vines to talk about new ways of working as an industry and how consumers can make better choices to minimise our impact on the environment. The first, Real cider, features Polly from Find & Foster, Felix from Fine Cider, Georgie from Ripe Cider and Matt from Coombeshead.

EVENT: Friends of Bude Sea Pool, End of Show Auction, The Falcon Hotel, Bude, 13th May from 7pm

Come and bid on 40 paintings, ceramics and sculpture donated by professional artists. The Auction Catalogue is available from our website. Sealed bids can also be submitted by 2pm on Friday 13th May. More info from

MUSIC: Chris Cleverley, Fish Factory Arts, Penryn, 13 May

Alt-folk songwriter Chris Cleverley heads to Penryn with his latest tour. As a student of Nic Jones and Joni Mitchell records, Cleverley’s guitar playing is infused with the hazy, dream like essence of the 60s Folk Revival. Rich with lightning fast melody and dexterous percussive slap, his blistering yet delicate technique places him firmly amongst the standout musicians on the New British Folk Scene.As such Cleverley will be performing some of the new songs for the first time ever, in their purest form–just guitar and voice–the way they were originally written.

DANCE: Rambert, Hall for Cornwall, 13 – 14 May

An evening with Rambert is always thought-provoking. This brilliant, diverse company of dancers invites us to see three very different short pieces that connect directly with the audience. Since David and Venus, we’ve put the human body on the highest pedestal, shaping and perpetuating an unattainable beauty standard. Eye Candy, originally created for Rambert’s livestream 2021 season by Dutch siblings Imre van Opstal and Marne van Opstal shows the pains and the pleasures of inhabiting the human body.

FOODIE: St Ives Food & Drink Festival, 13 – 15 May

Prepare for a weekend of culinary treats on the sands of beautiful Porthminster Beach – back this year in the usual May spot. There’s always a great line-up of local and national chefs putting on demonstrations, which in previous years have included Tom Brown, Aine Carlin, Simon Hulstone, Jude Kereama, Hersha Patel, Chris Eden, and Ben Tunnicliffe. There’s usually a large selection of the best street food on offer plus plenty of traders with delicious produce for sale in the Artisan Tent.

CULTURAL FESTIVAL: Creative Scilly, 13 – 22 May

This cultural festival celebrates the islands’ culture and creativity on a scale beyond anything hosted on the islands before and includes music, theatre, poetry, storytelling, visual arts and island life. Building on the foundations of the long established and well-loved Art Scilly week, the Creative Scilly Festival will feature an eclectic mix of events and hands-on workshops, demonstrations, public art displays, performances, gallery openings and fun nights out across the five islands.

EVENT: Seas The Day, Tubestation, Polzeath, 14 May

A free mental health and wellbeing event for children, adults and families that includes creative mindfulness workshops, free surf sessions, mental health and wellbeing talks, stalls, a raffle and much more.

FOODIE: Brimoncourt Champagne Dinner, Ugly Butterfly, Carbis Bay, 18 May

The first vintage release of Brimoncourt 2009 will be celebrated with a special dinner served at Ugly Butterfly pairing the House’s Champagnes with each of five courses for a bespoke tasting menu, priced at £200 per person. Brimoncourt Brut Regence NV will be served with Adam Handling’s famous snacks, followed by Brimoncourt Brut Blanc de Blanc NV with Orkney scallops, oyster cream. Brimoncourt Grand Cru Extra Brut is paired with Lobster tortellini, smoked shellfish, and the very special Brimoncourt Vintage 2009 has been paired with Duck, caramelised swede, honey.  The dessert, Cherry, meadowsweet, millet is served with Brimoncourt Brut Rose NV. Tickets for the events can be booked now by emailing

MUSIC: Eden Sessions, The Eden Project, 16, 17 May

May sees the first of the postponed Eden Sessions from 2020, with My Chemical Romance on two nights.

LITERARY FESTIVAL: Bude Literary Festival, various locations in Bude, 18 – 22 May

75 individual opportunities for people of all ages to be fascinated and inspired by authors and poets; to listen to local live music; to learn about Bude’s literary history;  to have a go at calligraphy or book binding or illustrations;  to enjoy an early morning storytime for children; to relax with a top class comedian or an open air theatre event; to help to launch a community book; to learn to write comedy or find a publisher, or enter one of three competitions (with valuable prizes!) for all the family.

Local writers and performers will be rubbing shoulders with award winning novelists, illustrators, comedians, poets and performers including Raynor Winn, Patrick Gale, Satish Kumar, Emily Hamilton, Henry Normal, Julie Sykes, Andy Parsons, Natalie Fée, Rob Auton and Jim Causley plus many more. Local schools will host free workshops by renowned writers. Many events are free and those with a ticket price are set at a modest rate to encourage as many people as possible to be part of this inaugural Bude Literary Festival.

EVENT: Silent Disco Yoga, The Eden Project, 20 May

Join Jen from Ocean Flow Yoga at the beautiful Mediterranean Biome at The Eden Project for a silent disco yoga session. Imagine a dynamic yoga class alongside an uplifting playlist in one of the most memorable locations you could think of, with inquisitive birds hopping around and the smell of plants filling the air…and not having to rely on the great Cornish weather!

FOODIE: Wine Tasting Evening in The Great Hall, The Alverton, Truro, 20 May

Join The Alverton’s drinks maestro, Yohann, in The Great Hall where he’ll welcome you into the world of wonderful wines. From 6pm-9pm, you will be poured six glasses of wine for you to sample throughout the evening. You’ll not only get to sip on the delicious wine as you learn all about them, but also tuck into some tasty sharing boards too. Tickets £30, booking essential.

EVENT: Synchro Sisterhood Sessions, Jubilee Pool, Penzance, 21 May

Synchro Sisterhood Sessions with Out of Sink are back at Jubilee Pool for two sessions to learn a big group synchro with some lovely women in the toasty warm healing delights of the geothermal pool. No skills required, just a love of time in the water, a sense of humour, and a bit of courage…

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