Art, exhibitions, music and theatre in Cornwall this summer

The diver in the dive pit at Charlestown Shipwreck Museum

The diver in the dive pit at Charlestown Shipwreck Museum - Credit: shipwreckcharlestown.co.uk

Whatever the weather find some time for a taste of culture with Cornwall's packed programme of summer exhibitions and music festivals

John Dyer Summer exhibition 

Husband and wife artists, John Dyer and Joanne Short have spent the summer exploring Cornwall – walking, swimming, surfing, camping and painting. The result is a collection of 11 new paintings which explore the colours and heat of Summer 2021. Their bright and vivid contemporary landscapes capture the natural beauty of some of Cornwall’s most popular destinations including St Ives, Mawgan Porth, Bude, Polzeath, St Mawes, Kynance Cove, Godrevy, Falmouth and St Michael’s Mount.  

John Dyer’s work is in collections at Falmouth Art Gallery, the Eden Project and the National Trust. Joanne Short is a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists and has been exhibiting in Cornwall, London and Europe for more than 30 years. 

The exhibition is online at the John Dyer Gallery in Falmouth but you can make appointments to view the work, which is packed with energy and colour. johndyergallery.com 

View across the Harbour, St Ives by John Dyer

View across the Harbour, St Ives by John Dyer - Credit: PICTURE: JOHN DYER GALLERY

In Your Hands  

The lockdown restrictions have changed many things, including our opportunities to travel. A new exhibition (until 16 October) at the Newlyn Art Gallery offers an answer to the problem, exploring new connections with artists across the world.  

In Your Hands connects international artists with people in Cornwall in collaborations to realise or fabricate their artwork, taking a chance on the outcome.  

Most Read

Lenka Clayton and Phillip Andrew Lewis are based in Pittsburgh, USA, but when visiting Lenka’s hometown of Penzance in 2017, they made an artist research trip to Henry Cowles, the oldest existing net maker in the UK, and still operating from Helston. When invited to participate in In Your Hands, the artists decided to commission a sample of every net, in every colour way, that Henry Cowles supplies, and for it to be stitched together to create a net that could catch everything, but possibly nothing.  

Based in Newlyn, and using traditional methods, South West Play diversified from fishing nets, and now creates playparks across the Europe. They accepted the challenge to join the diamonds of nets together with the only rule that no two nets the same should touch. 

Klaas Rommelaere, a textile artist based in Antwerp, Belgium, wanted to make an installation that represented the collective home that we have all spent so much time in. Taking their cue from the success of Extraordinary Postcards, the gallery invited ordinary people, artists, and non-artists, to send in photographs of their favourite possessions, with a sentence explaining why it meant so much to them. These inspired a design that was sent to each participant – a total of 63 adults and 22 children - with a sewing kit. 

‘While connecting international artists with people in Cornwall and the UK to create their work was born out of necessity in a time of lockdown, these collaborations have resulted in many extraordinary and unexpected outcomes for the artists,’ says exhibition curator Blair Todd. ‘Helping make each project happen has been incredibly rewarding, particularly emailing, messaging, and zooming with the 80 people across the UK who put so much time and creativity into their needlework.’  Other collaborations include Arinda Daphine, a poet and dancer, and civil rights lawyer, in Kampala, Uganda, who has devised a new installation of poetry, song, drawing, painting and dance with Shallal Dance Theatre and Benny Nemer, a Canadian artist based in Paris, who will send a personal card each week during the exhibition to Zennor Wild, a local florist, who will respond with a different floral arrangement for the gallery – an intimate conversation developing over the summer. newlynartgallery.co.uk  

A new exhibition at the Newlyn Art Gallery has international connections

A new exhibition at the Newlyn Art Gallery has international connections - Credit: PICTURE: NEWLYN ART GALLERY



Wild Moon 

Cornwall’s award-winning Rogue Theatre are returning to Tehidy Woods to offer an immersive theatre adventure for Forest Days and Forest Nights, celebrating the wild and the magic of life. Wild Moon weaves imagination with the wild, welcoming souls who long to gather with stories of forest magic and ancient fire, of salty sea, mystery and of wonder with dream flight feathers. 

There are different stories for day and night (so you could book a double-bill). You will journey through the North Cliffs in beautiful Tehidy Woods, drawn by the magic scent of smoke and on paths first made by animals. Lose yourself in Rogue’s Otherworld in a mossy clearing. Wild Moon Forest Days is a funny, wild and beautiful show for all ages and Wild Moon Forest Nights is wicked and witty, perfect for anyone who enjoys a bit more bite from their tales. rogueotherworld.co.uk 

Starcrazy 

Having toured the nooks and crannies of the South West for over 40 years, this homegrown Cornish company will be back on the road for Summer 2021 with a brand-new cosmic comedy, Starcrazy.  
This gentle comedy about obsession, hope and the rekindling of love, written by Bill Scott with music by Tom Adams, is already attracting rave reviews. 

‘Starcrazy is about Stan, a quiet, reclusive individual, who spends a lot of time in his potting shed, tinkering with a very powerful radio transmitter,’ explains director Bill Scott. ‘His attempts at communicating with folk in distant galaxies are interrupted by a new neighbour, Gwen, who has interests much closer to home. And sinister forces are at work – or are they just inspectors from the planning department?’ 

The show runs to 28 August at locations all over Cornwall and the South West, reaching from the Isles of Scilly to Wiltshire. miracletheatre.co.uk

Cast of Miracle Theatre's Starcrazy cast

Starcrazy - Credit: Kirstin Prisk

Shipwreck!

The Shipwreck Treasure Museum has created a special guidebook for the school summer holidays to steer them through Europe’s largest private collection of shipwreck artefacts. 

The museum, which overlooks Charlestown’s Unesco World Heritage site harbour, uses the guide to explore shipwreck treasure and focusses on the stories of key vessels lost at sea with tasks to hunt down specific artefacts from each that are on display. There is also a QR code link to more related activities on the museum’s website so the fun can continue after a visit. 

‘Our museum is full of amazing tales that the artefacts recovered from lost ships tell. We hope our brave young pioneers will use this guide to help them and their families connect with the past,’ says Visitor Engagement Manager Lynné Raubenheimer. 

The museum is open seven day a week from 10am to 5pm daily. To find out more and pre-book timed entry tickets visit shipwreckcharlestown.co.uk 

Young visitors to the Shipwreck Treasure Museum in Charlestown

There’s plenty to explore at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum in Charlestown - Credit: PICTURE: Lynné Raubenheimer


Music 

Eden Sessions 
Music is a huge part of life in Cornwall – from Sea shanties to the international names frequenting the Eden Session programme – this year’s names include Diana Ross and McFly. See edensessions.org for full line up and dates. 

Diana Ross

Diana Ross - Credit: Eden Sessions

Boardmasters 

This huge festival of music and surf is back with bang after a two-year absence on 11-15 August. The line-up includes Gorillaz and l. Alongside music, there are surf competitions,  food, the silent disco – and boutique camping for the more discerning visitor. boardmasters.com 

The Great Estate Festival  

This festival (27-29 August) is sure to end the month on a showstopper. A rambunctious and entertaining bank holiday weekend of music, food, and fun. Highlights include a Victorian Sports Day, jaw-dropping science with The Lords of Lightening, and music from international stars like Bailey Tomkinson. greatestatefestival.co.uk

Classical
And there’s two days of classical music in the Nova Music Festival (6 - 7 August). The Wheal Martyn Atrium hosts the mesmerising music of Haydn and Mendelssohn, followed by Schubert, Beethoven, Dohnanyi, and Mozart the next day. novaclassicalfestival.com

...And for something completely different Head to DadFest (20-22 August) which is the only festival in the country just for dads and children. DadFest is also home to the Official World Dad Dancing Championships. Search Dad Fest online.