Fancy seeing a play in a piggery next time you come to Cornwall?
It might not seem the most tempting invitation you’ve ever had, but remember here in Cornwall we pride ourselves on our quirky cultural venues al fresco.
Sterts is a 400-seat amphitheater set in the grounds of a former pig farm on Bodmin Moor.
The stage is open to the Cornish air, but a strategically-stretched canopy protects actors and audiences from the rain.
Sterts offers brilliantly-executed amateur in-house shows alongside great touring productions and the combination is winning Sterts a growing reputation nationally.
But while Jo Brand, Murray Lachlan Young, Seth Lakeman, Ed Byrne and Josh Widdicombe have all graced the stage, it’s the talented and enthusiastic local performers that really make Sterts.
Sterts was founded by Ewart Sturrock, a teacher from Looe, and his wife Ann. They were fed up with the way that schools, colleges and universities seem to favour those students who were clearly gifted in some way, while ignoring those whose talents were not yet so obvious.
The saw that many students were leaving education with little sense of their worth, and a profound lack of awareness of their own creative capabilities.
They decided to create facilities and resources for creative work to take place in their community. So, in 1982, they bought the barns and outbuildings that had originally belonged to the farmhouse they owned.
These buildings now form the core of Sterts and the transformation from pig farm to arts centre had begun. Two years later, Peter Brook, the then Minister for the Arts, parachuted in from London to celebrate the installation of a new waterproof canopy, making the theatre a much more attractive proposition to audiences.
In the 30 years since Ewart and Ann set up Sterts, thousands of people – old and young and drawn from all sections of the community – have benefited from taking part in arts activities at the centre.
This winter, Sterts underwent a £131,000 back stage face lift. Now, new changing rooms, showers and toilets, and a state of the art sound and lighting system have been installed thanks to Viridor Credits Environmental Company, The Landfill Communities Fund and Cornwall Council.
So, remember to enjoy a little drama in a pig sty next time you’re in Cornwall.
What’s On at Sterts?
Saturday, 21st April: 7.30pm
Musicians, dancers, astronomers, scientists, filmmakers and designers collaborate to explore the creative energy of the universe together.
Featuring groundbreaking musical outfit Michelson Morley in collaboration, dance artist Lois Taylor, costume designer Andrea Carr, and film/live visuals practitioner Joanna Mayes, the work was inspired by data from cosmic rays captured as they strike Cornwall from space.
Gain insights into a truly unique project by witnessing how this work links to both the infinitesimally large, and the infinitesimally small, invisible forces at work in the universe we all inhabit.
The event also includes Music for the Night Sky, created through a partnership between Sounds Vital and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Patrick Bailey, working with a wealth of locally based practitioners.
An Evening with Warwick and Davey
Saturday, 28th April: 7.30pm
Come and enjoy a taste of Musical Theatre, a burst of ballad, a sprinkling of comedy and the inevitable moment of schmaltz.
Colin Davey and Jane Warwick offer an intimate cabaret including an eclectic collection of songs originally performed or written by women.
The evening celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, the decisive step in the political emancipation of women in the UK getting the vote.