April 01, 2016

The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - The Minack, Porthcurno - My Birthday Treat!

One of my daughters favourite books is The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch. In fact she loves the whole series. When I saw it was being put on at The Minack, on my birthday, in the Easter school holidays, well of course I jumped to get tickets!

Rain had been forecast. For the foreseable future. It was going to rain FOREVER in Cornwall, or at least for the whole Easter school holidays. Noooo.

We have been to a fair few shows at the Minack in the rain. It is fun WITHOUT kids. But with kids, I feared it would be, well, a washout. Hurrah for the bizarre Cornish weather. It couldn't have been a more lovely day. In fact (dare I complain) it was a bit too hot and bright, mainly because I forgot to bring the kids sunhats.

We decided that as it was my birthday, we would make a nice day of it and start off with a picnic on Porthcurno beach. We parked (for free at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum as we had got a pass) and walked down to the beach.

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall

I love Porthcurno beach for a proper picnic, as the seagulls there are few and far between. In fact, we didn't see one! You can actually lay out your food and eat in a relaxed manner.

The beach was nice a busy with families, lots seemingly having the same idea.

The sun shone, the kids played and we ate a delicious picnic of olive bread, pate, goats cheese, gordal olives (from the Digey Deli), sundried tomatoes and salad. Well it was my birthday!

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - Easter Sunshine

After lunch, we decided to walk up the cliff steps to The Minack. It was a lovely way to start our visit to The Minack and Little N had great fun scrambling up like a little mountain goat! I carried Baby B in his sling which, with all the stairs was a little tough on my knees (well I am a year older now!). It took us about 15 minutes to walk up, but we were really slow. With older children/younger parents it wouldn't take long at all!

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - Steps To The Minack Theatre

We had already had tickets so we could just walk straight in (I had called up the box office on 01736 810181 and had been sent the tickets in the post). We arrived at 1:20pm (for the 2pm start) and it was already filling up.

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - Busy

We were offered seats on the back row on of the lower terraces. These were brilliant as it meant I had a backrest for feeding Baby B. The view was fine too, except we had to sit Little N on lots of coats for her to see.

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - Seats On The Back Row Lower Terrace

We had brought with us a flask of tea, strawberries and tiffin which was quite delicious! This is one thing we love about the Minnack - you can bring in your own food. There is a take away kiosk and cafe upstairs that do quite reasonably priced food and drink if you don't fancy self catering.

The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Show

For those of you who don't know the story, here is the synopsis:

Mr Grinling, the lighthouse keeper, tends his light come rain or shine. Every day Mrs Grinling makes him a delicious lunch and sends it out across the sea to the lighthouse. But Mr Grinling isn't the only one who enjoys the tasty food. Some greedy seagulls keep stealing his lunch! Can Mrs Grinling come up with an ingenious plan to make sure the lighthouse keeper gets his lunch?

The set was really simple but visually very effective. There was the Little White Cottage on the cliffs and The Lighthouse. Joining this was the rope for the lunch basket to be sent along. Mr Grinling had a row boat on wheels that moved across the stage.

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Set

The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Cast

Mr Grinling was played by Craig Johnson (from Squash Box & Kneehigh Theatre).

Mrs Grinling was played by Sharon Andrew (from Scary Little Girls).

and about 20 children (I might have counted incorrectly) from the newly formed Minack Youth Theatre. They were all primary school age, I'm guessing the youngest was around 6 or 7. They played children, waves, the storm, food and seagull.

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Cast

I have to say, the children in it were amazing. Really confident, good singing, strong voices and great acting. We especially liked the little boy with the enormous pair of cymbals, and the little boy who Mrs Grinling kept on swiping off his chefs hat!

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - The LighthousePorthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - The StormPorthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - Hamish The CatPorthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - Seagull AttackPorthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - Mrs GrinlingPorthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - Seagulls

The music was all live and was played by The People's String Foundation & Rogue Theatre, directed by Ben Sutcliffe. I always prefer live orchestras (being from a musical background myself) and this one was very good. The story was interwoven with lots of songs which were really catchy and often funny. Baby B bounced along to them - he does love a good tune!

The show was quite short - I forgot to look how long it was but maybe an hour? It was the perfect length for all of the children watching it and was pitched just right for them.

After the show had finished we stayed in our seats, had another cup of tea and ate strawberries. The view from the Minack is just sensational. It is possibly the best sea view in the whole world. And it was made even more, well, viewy, by a catamaran sailing by.

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - Catamaran

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - View Across To Pedn Vounder Beach

Porthcurno Beach Cornwall - The Minack Theatre - The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch - Simply Stunning View

For more information on events at The Minack go to or call 01736 810181

You can buy The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch and other books in the series here >>


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