100: UnEarth – immersive outdoor theatre at Heligan

Two actors, one in yellow, the other in an army uniform, stood on a wooden bench table, in front of a group of more actors wearing army uniforms and hugging

I am a great fan of outdoor theatre and never cease to be grateful that I live here in Cornwall, a county blessed with some of the most original theatre companies on the planet thus enabling me to experience it every summer.

I’ve just been to see 100: UnEarth by renowned theatre company WildWorks. This latest immersive production was based at the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the play plus the setting delivered a most magical evening’s entertainment.

The story is a follow up to their 2014 centenary production of 100: The Day Our World Changed, which examined the recruitment of young men to fight in the First World War, especially poignant as most of the Heligan gardeners of the time went off to fight and never returned, leaving the gardens to revert to an overgrown jungle.

This production sees the much decimated group of young men in uniform return to their womenfolk, who have been struggling to keep land tended and children fed whilst their men folk were away.

The lead characters are Orpheus and Eurydice. She has declared her love by writing him a letter every day for his four-year absence and their joyful reunion is ended when she is killed in an accident. Orpheus declares that his love is stronger than death and pursues Eurydice to the Underworld to try and rescue her.

The production is set in different locations in the gardens so you as the audience move with the characters to witness Orpheus’ journey through the hazards of the Underworld and the tasks he is set by Hades and Persephone.

I love this style of immersive theatre as you do not feel you are watching a play, you are part of it. It engenders a connection which makes you emotionally involved with the characters and the dilemmas they face in making their decisions.

Well done to the team at WildWorks for this creative masterpiece, the cast, choir and music makers were excellent and the setting in the poppy fields and gardens was sublime. We were also blessed with a glorious summer evening and perfect sunset. Go see it if you can. I can’t wait for the next one…

More information

100: UnEarth took place at The Lost Gardens of Heligan from 3rd to 22nd July 2018 with performances every day apart from Mondays. Shows start 7.30pm / 6.30pm on Sundays.

Getting there

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Bosinver. Postcode for satnavs: PL26 6EN.

Find out more about outdoor theatre in Cornwall this summer > 
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