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Summer Family Theatre Top Picks

Happy Holidays! Here are 20 family theatre shows you can catch in Cornwall this Summer

From live music and theatre to puppet shows – there is plenty of entertainment for all the family this July and August. Jump on a steam train and take on the identity of a WW1 soldier, learn about the myths and monsters of ancient Greece or enjoy all the classics of Shakespeare and Austen retold in an open air setting. With curious creatures to dragons and mermaids, to princesses, pirates and puppets galore – celebrate the Summer Season by experiencing the magic of Cornish theatre.

1. Cornwall Regimental Museum: The Trench

Mon 18th June — Sun 15th July, 2018
Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, Bodmin

Come and take part in an immersive theatre experience at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum this Summer.

The Trench Bodmin tells the true and personal stories of local Cornishmen who fought in the First World War – brothers, fathers, sons, a motorcycling clergyman, a talented composer, a heroic bandsman…Follow in their footsteps, enlist at Bodmin Keep and take on a real soldier’s identity. March off to board a steam train at Bodmin & Wenford Railway and head to a replica WW1 trench to experience the chaos of battle. Return and discover your fate, before entering the Trench Exhibition at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum.

This experience is not for the faint of heart!

2. Toy Symphony: Peter and the Wolf

Sun 1st July, 2018
St Mary’s Church, Penzance

Bring your children and loved ones along to meet the instruments of the orchestra and some wild animals at this fun, family matinee. Zeb Soanes, familiar to millions as the honey-toned voice of the BBC Shipping Forecast, presents a spectacular double bill. First there’ll be a performance of the famous Toy Symphony, a pint-sized treat from the age of Mozart featuring a cuckoo, a quail, a nightingale, a toy trumpet and… well you’ll just have to crane your neck to see!

Then Zeb narrates Prokoviev’s evergreen musical tale of a Peter and the Wolf, an exciting, funny story in which a resourceful little boy outwits a savage wolf, ably assisted by a silly duck, a sly cat and a very brave (and conceited) little bird.

3. Miracle Theatre: The Cherry Orchard

Fri 15th June – Sat 25th Aug, 2018
Multiple Venues across Cornwall

This summer, Miracle unpacks Chekhov’s bittersweet comedy about a once-wealthy family, whose idleness and extravagance have brought them to the brink of bankruptcy.
Obstinate and self-absorbed, they are deaf to the rumblings of change which surrounds them, and unable to accept help when they need it. Will it take a revolution to destroy their cosy world of privilege and entitlement – or will their own stupidity be enough? Bill Scott’s new adaptation treads a tragicomic tightrope, bringing out all the humour and pathos of Chekhov’s masterpiece which, more than a century after it was written is as popular as ever.

Audiences of all ages can enjoy the full ‘open air theatre experience’, by bringing along cushions and blankets along with a well-stocked picnic or sample the delicious food and drinks provided onsite. Prepare for all weathers and arrive early for a special night of theatre performed under the stars!

See event listings

4. TAODS: Little Women The Broadway Musical

Tues 26th June – Sat 7th July, 2018
Multiple Venues across Cornwall

A glorious musical adaptation of the classic novel

Truro Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society presents ‘Little Women‘, a timeless and captivating story, based on Louisa May Alcott’s critically acclaimed book. This glorious musical is brought to life with a beautiful score by Jason Howland (composer ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’) ‘Little Women‘ follows the adventures of the four March sisters – Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy.

The Civil War is in full swing, and the March sisters — Meg, the oldest, a romantic, the spirited and tomboyish Jo, sweet and loving Beth, and irascible, playful Amy — live in Concord, Massachusetts with their Marmee while their father is on the battlefield. Filled with adventure , heartbreak, and a deep sense of hope, the struggle of these “Little Women” to find their own voices mirrors the growing pains of a young America. With buoyant, joyful melodies, memorable characters, and a big-hearted message, Little Women reminds us that “sometimes when you dream, your dreams come true.”

See event listings

5. RAOSTys: Seussical The Musical

Sat 7th — Sun 8th July, 2018
The Regal Theatre, Redruth

RAOSTys proudly present Seussical a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza family show based on the works of Dr Seuss. The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

6. John Brolly: The Lonely Lighthouse Keeper

Sun 15th July, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Percy moves to a lighthouse to find peace and quiet away from his noisy knitting obsessed neighbour. But when disaster strikes can either of them save the day? Children aged from 5 to 100 can learn something from this cautionary tale:- You can’t keep a horse in a lighthouse…

7. Illyria: Dr Dolittle

Tues 24th July – Sat 1st Sep, 2018
Penzance, Newquay & Falmouth
When Dr John Dolittle of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh is taught by his wise old parrot Polynesia how to talk to animals word of his skills spreads far and wide.
Soon animals across the world send messages asking for his help.  So he buys a leaky old ship and, together with his trusty pet-crew of Jip the dog, Chee-Chee the monkey, Dab-Dab the Duck and permanently hungry Gub-Gub the pig, sets forth on a mission to heal illness, right wrongs and gain a greater understanding of the animal kingdom.

A funny, exciting and much-loved adventure, with a strong message about responsibility towards animals and the environment.

See event listings

8. Quantum Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Wed 25th July, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Shakespeare’s popular comedy of love and intrigue, magic and mayhem, brought to life in a wonderfully funny and exuberant production of the Shakespeare classic. Come and be enchanted by this exciting, funny and intriguing new production designed to appeal to the whole family.

9. Wenna’s Wonderful World

Wed 25th July, 2018
Acorn Penzance, Penzance

Come and play with Wenna and her friends as they set off on a magical journey. Let’s start with some art and then sing and dance together in Wenna‘s World. And we’ll finish with a Wenna cup cake party!

10. Quantum Theatre: The Reluctant Dragon

Fri 27th July –  Thu 23rd Aug, 2018
Penzance, Falmouth & Newquay

Everyone knows St George has to do battle with the dragon, but what happens when the dragon simply won’t fight St George? In this beloved classic story, a young boy befriends a poetry-loving dragon living in the Downs above his home. When the town-folk send for St. George to slay the dragon, the boy needs to come up with a clever plan to save his friend and convince the townsfolk to accept him.

A classic retelling of St George and the Dragon from the author of The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, The Reluctant Dragon is a funny, touching and enchanting story of bravery, friendship and derring-do.

See event listings

11. Squashbox Theatre: The Sea Show

Fri 27th July & Sun 5th Aug, 2018
Falmouth & Penzance
The Sea Show is a quirky and hilarious mix of puppet show, natural history and comedy cabaret.

Meet crazy characters like Morwenna the ‘beautiful’ mermaid, Ruan the reformed seagull and salty seadog Captain Pemburthy, as well as a cast of mischievous sea-squirts, anemones, limpets, crabs and pilchards. Celebrate the sea with tall tales, silly slapstick, fantastic facts, live music and songs – unmissable fun for children and adults of all ages!

See event listings

12. Squashbox Theatre: Myths & Monsters

Sun 29th July & Sat 25th Aug
Penzance & Falmouth

Where can you find a creature that is half eagle and half lion? Or one that is half goat, half fish! Or half horse, half human? Or half lion, half goat and half snake? Wait, that’s impossible… or is it?

The myths and legends of ancient Greece have been passed down through the generations, entrancing and fascinating people for thousands of years…Now join Craig Johnson from Squashbox Theatre as he explores these legends of old, using a quirky and ingenious blend of puppetry, storytelling, live music and comedy.

See event listings

13. Little Trebiggan Theatre: Diggory Piper

Mon 30th July, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Join Diggory Piper as he takes to the seas, will he be victorious in assisting Queen Elizabeth I in her quest to vanquish the Spanish Armada or will his chronic sea sickness win over? A heart-warming true story of an Elizabethan Robin Hood that will charm children from 3 upwards and their families.

14. Folksy Theatre: The Princess & The Giant

Thu 2nd August, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Princess Sophie is fed up. She’s exhausted and it’s all because the grumpy old giant can’t sleep – his stomps and stamps keep everyone awake. But Princess Sophie is a resourceful sort of girl and she wonders if she might just have the answer! Filled with music, puppetry and wonderful characters, based on the children’s book by Caryl Hart.

15. Squashbox Theatre: Stones & Bones

Sun 12th August, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

A marvellous mix of history and mystery! Find out all about archaeology and fossils, say hello to one of your stone-age ancestors, hear stories of giants and wizards, see a volcano erupting before your very eyes, and maybe even glimpse a dinosaur or two…

16. Trebah & Gaggle Haus: SCRAWW

Tue 14th August, 2018 — Sat 25th August, 2018
Amphitheatre at Trebah, Falmouth

The birds of the world have gathered; join the flock on an epic quest through the garden to find the legendary Simorgh bird. A feather fuelled, technically immersive journey into Persian poetry… prepare to elect your new king!

An original production commissioned by Trebah and created by artists from Cornwall, London and New York.

17. Boxtree Theatre: Treasure Island

Fri 17th August, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

When Jim Hawkins discovers a treasure map, it hurtles him in to a cat and mouse game with dangerous pirates, taking him across the World to ‘Treasure Island’. Will Jim find the treasure? Should he trust the mysterious ship’s cook, Long John Silver? With inventive staging, original songs and magical storytelling this is a classic tale of adventure, treasure and, of course, rum!

18. Carnon Downs Drama: Punch and Judy LIVE

Sat 18th August, 2018
Amphitheatre at Trebah, Falmouth
He’s a rogue, he’s a rover, he’s selfish, he’s a bad’un, but don’t we just love him. Judy’s his wife and ain’t she gorgeous (but you might think she’s one of the Borgias). With his nose and his chin and his great big cudgel, he’ll knock you down flat, now ain’t that delightful. Scaramouche, Toby, Hangman and Constable, haven’t a hope when Punch gets at ‘em.

Carnon Downs Drama brings you the real thing, a live performance of murder and mayhem. It’s just the show, you must bring the kids to, appallingly funny and dreadfully frightful.

19. Squashbox Theatre: Curious Creatures

Sun 19th August, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Welcome to the ‘Curious Creatures’ wildlife park, established by Jeremiah Johnson: explorer, zoologist and animal collector. Unfortunately, Jeremiah Johnson is currently lost somewhere in Africa, so he has handed the running of the park over to his inexperienced nephew Craig… and things don’t quite go as planned.

20. Folksy Theatre: Love's Labour's Lost

Sun 19th August, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

The King of Navarre and his lords swear off food, women, and sleep in order to study for 3 years. No sooner have they made their oath when the Princess of France arrives with her ladies-in-waiting. How will the King and his Lords resolve hold up? This wonderful Shakespeare comedy is filled with live music, audience interaction and downright silliness.

21. Heartbreak Theatre: The Railway Children

Mon 27th August, 2018
Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Attention passengers! We are sorry to announce that all services out of Gigglesworth Station are delayed! Gather around Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis on platform one as they pass the time by sharing the classic tale of The Railway Children. All aboard! Full steam ahead! A classic children’s tale by Edith Nesbit.

22. Smoking Apples: Arbor

Wed 29th August, 2018
Amphitheatre at Trebah, Falmouth

Part Man. Part Tree. 18 feet tall. Meet Arbor.

Follow Arbor as he strides around the garden, vanishing between trees and emerging with his cart full of tree saplings. Arbor tells the story of a tree pushed from his home and his fight to preserve his future. Encouraging the audience to plant and nurture their own trees, Arbor will give each person a sapling to take home, leaving a legacy that will last for generations. Arbor is an interactive walkabout performance, suitable for the entire family. Created by award-winning puppetry and theatre company, Smoking Apples.

23. Heartbreak Theatre: Pride & Prejudice

Thu 30th August, 2018
Penlee Park Theatre, Penzance

We are pleased to announce that the Prince Regent is coming to visit. You are required to attend an etiquette lesson hosted by The Association of Higher Etiquette and Manners (A.H.E.M.). Join the Bennet sisters, a host of charming, young bachelors (yes, Mr Darcy will be there. No, really, yes, that Mr Darcy), for an evening of comedy, romance, and more than one come-uppance, as we learn how to behave, ahem, properly.

Holly Gambles

Holly joined the Cornwall 365 team in May 2018 as a Communications and Events Co-ordinator, after completing her management degree at Falmouth University.