Music, Drama, Arts & Crafts

Music, Drama, Arts & Crafts


The earliest of Cornwall's artists, some say, created the exquisite 8th century wayside crosses which mark the old pilgrims' routes. The most recent now exhibit their work at the Tate Gallery in St. Ives.

It was to St. Ives that Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon and other modernists gravitated during the first half of this century, attracted by the quality of light and the rugged Penwith landscape. Some 50 years earlier, a comparable school of painting developed in Newlyn, where such influential painters as Stanhope Forbes and Norman Garstin became renowned for their realistic depictions of rural and harbour-side life. You can admire the work of great artists past and present displayed in numerous studios and galleries throughout the county, including the Penzance & District Museum & Art Gallery and the Newlyn Art Gallery .

Then there are the word-smiths. Sir John Betjeman, Winston Graham, Daphne du Maurier, E V Thompson and Rosamunde Pilcher have all written tenderly about Cornwall, and an extended list would take in the likes of D H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Thomas Hardy, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Causley and a host of other writers.

From cottage wood-turners to designer jewellery and ceramics, from hand-thrown stoneware to contemporary furniture, Cornwall has it all. In 1900 copper craft workshops were set up at Newlyn, and ever since there has been an influx of innovative and skilled makers.

Cornwall's Celtic heritage has instilled in its people a love of music, too. For this is a male voice choir country, and in every town worth its salt you'll also find a brass band. Truro's Three Spires Arts Festival draws countless visitors in June, and the International Musicians' Seminars at Prussia Cove result in marvellous concerts .

At the open-air Minack Theatre it is de rigeur to dine on pasties and white wine in the fading light - both pasties and performances come with strong recommendations. You'll find another theatrical treat at Sterts Theatre, on the slopes of Bodmin Moor. Treading the boards here and elsewhere are Cornwall's many home-grown theatrical troupes, including the magical Miracle Theatre and the unique Kneehigh.

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