Curtain Call at Sterts Theatre near Liskeard

Sterts Theatre, at Upton Cross near Liskeard, has become an integral part of Cornwall's cultural scene

Sterts Theatre, at Upton Cross near Liskeard, has become an integral part of Cornwall’s cultural scene

Sterts Theatre must be located in one of Britain’s most unusual theatrical settings – a canopied amphitheatre sitting comfortably on the grassy side of Bodmin Moor, in the open Cornish air yet protected from the summer rain. This theatre’s stage is graced by some of the biggest names in show business and by some of the most talented and enthusiastic amateurs in Cornwall.

Sterts rose from the ruins of a derelict pig farm because of one couple’s unshakeable belief that everybody could share in their passion for the arts. More than 20 years after Ewart and Annie Sturrock drew up their plans for a theatre, Sterts has become an important part of Cornwall’s cultural scene. In the last two years alone, thousands have enjoyed entertainment ranging from the acclaimed community play Gonamena to folk superstars Show of Hands, and last year’s stunning musical hit Children of Eden to comedy star Dave Gorman.The Sturrocks remain involved, but the organisation is now administered by a council, chaired by local GP, actor and director Steve Jefferies. Sterts is a registered charity dedicated to the performing arts, the community, education and young people. As such, the organisation has raised the curtain on a theatrical experience for performers of all ages and abilities. This year a newly formed youth company performs its first musical, Brother Jacques, in which performers from the Access Company, which offers people with special needs the chance to get involved, will play their full part.

Local primary schools use the theatre, which also hosts ballet classes, music education for the very young and the StageKids project for young people. The studio space is ideal for small conferences. Comedian and writer Jo Brand and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy headline the 2010 season, but alongside such stellar visitors and visiting artists including Cornish theatrical talent such as Bishbashbosh and Miracle Theatre, Sterts’ own company will mount four productions. Peter Pan takes flight in a feast of fun, music, laughter, thrills and spills. It’s backed up by the legendary musical Fiddler on the Roof. And Steve Jefferies directs the late John Mortimer’s heart-warming story, A Voyage Round My Father. Brother Jacques is directed by Nic Early, with musical director Jane Warwick, who’s been behind Sterts’ hits including Oliver! and Children of Eden. Jane will also be musical director on Fiddler on the Roof. Peter Pan is directed by Steph Reese, with musical director Emma Luing.“We try to offer a wide range of entertainment,” says Chairman Steve Jefferies, “but we hope with one thing in common – the highest in theatrical quality in an unrivalled, magical Cornish open-air location.“Prestigious visitors like Carol Ann Duffy and Jo Brand speak for themselves, and more and more people have discovered the sheer family fun of our own in-house shows," Steve adds.

What's on at Sterts this summer

17, 18, 19, 31 August, 1 September: Brother Jacques, the award-winning youth musical set during the French Revolution 2, 3, 6, 23, 28, 30 August; 3 September: Peter Pan, the much-loved spectacular family musical 4, 5, 20, 24, 26 August; 2 September: The classic musical Fiddler on the Roof  10, 11, 13, 16, 21 August; 8 September: Sir John Mortimer’s comedy drama, A Voyage Round My FatherVisiting musicand theatre:7 August: ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ – the birth of rock ’n’ roll 9 August: ‘Motown Magic’ – a tribute to the greats 11 August: ‘The Sea Show’ – perfect for children 12 August: Westcountry Theatre Company’s hilarious, A Midsummer Night’s Dream14 August: ‘A Festival of Choirs’ – Sterts Singers and Callington Gospel Choir join forces 25 August: The Station – Bash Street Theatre Company’s silent-movie-inspired comedy drama 26 August: The Selfish Giant – puppet-based fun 27 August: ‘A Night of Queen’ with top tribute act, The Bohemians 4 September: Co-opera, the new company, performing ‘greatest hits’ 7 September: ‘Still Drifting’, with Ray Lewis, the Drifters lead singer 9 September: Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy10 September: all the fun of ‘The Last Night of the Proms’ 11 September: ‘The Fool Effect’ – comedy improvisationContact Sterts’ box office on 01579 362382, or for further information visit

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