The Theatre of Cornwall


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Alan Kent takes us from Brythonic theatre’s origins in the rituals of antiquity to the present-day world of the Minack Theatre and Piran Round, and companies such as Kneehigh and Mundic Nation. Within this wide span, he considers lost performances and texts, medieval cycle dramas, Saints’ plays, Christmas dramas, music hall, melodrama, opera, and the way that Cornwall and the Cornish themselves have been perceived in the stage. The book evaluates writers from Radolphus Tun and Samuel Foote to Donald R. Rawe and Nick Darke, along the way questioning established myths and reviewing significant theatrical institutions, performers, designers and directors. Drawing on Cornwall’s distinctiveness, as well as theatrical theory, the author shows how dramas have been reproduced and reinterpreted throughout history. Written by one of Cornwall’s most respected poets and playwrights, The Theatre of Cornwall not only charts the history of theatre in Cornwall, but also addresses fundamental questions about the social and political purposes of theatre. It is essential reading for anyone interested in European cultural history, but also offers a unique insight into the theatre of the Atlantic arc. Dr Alan M. Kent is Lecturer in Literature at the Open University in the South-West of Britain and Visiting Lecturer in Celtic Literatures a the University of Coruna, Galicia. He has written widely on the literary and cultural history of Cornwall, including for Redcliffe Press The Literature of Cornwall: Identity, Difference 1000-2000. His other work includes Ordinalia: The Cornish Mystery Play Cycle – A Verse Translation and Looking at the Mermaid: A Reader in Cornish Literature. His play Oogly es Sin was nominated for a Sony Award and his new play The Tin Violin toured Britain in 2008.