Scraww: an immersive outdoor performance at Trebah Garden

Two actors with bird puppets on a beach at dusk

I am a Cultural Ambassador for Cornwall 365 and I was invited to see the latest performance at Trebah Garden – Scraww.  It was a promenade performance in which actors mingle with the audience and the story unfolds as you wend your way through the paths and tracks overhung with a canopy of exotic foliage from plants sourced from all over the world.

Gaggle Haus theatre has pushed the boundaries of outdoor performance this time by issuing every member of the audience with disco style headphones to make this a truly immersive experience, with activity, audio accompaniment and visual delights from the natural surroundings and the actors.

The story is based around a Persian tale called the ‘Conference of the Birds’. The audience are told that the birds of the world have gathered in an epic quest to find the legendary Simorgh bird and elect their new king. The hoopoe, the wisest of the birds, leads the other birds, each of whom represents a human fault. The actors sang their lines opera style and we heard wonderful musical accompaniments and sound effects through our headphones. In hindsight, I would have preferred a little more explanation of the storyline, especially for the children, as it was a little difficult to follow at times.

Nevertheless, it was a truly magical experience being in such a beautiful place, using our imaginations, wondering what was going to happen at every twist and turn as the sun was setting and turning the sky pink above us. The story finished on the beach alongside the Helford River, where we returned to reality and the yacht owners popped out to see what the commotion was.

It was wonderful to be there and again to realise how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. We are also very lucky to be able to experience the delights of world-class outdoor theatre at venues all over Cornwall. I confess to being rather addicted – it’s the perfect antidote to life presented to us on screen.

The evening finished with delicious Persian food served on the beach from the little Trebah café and chatter amongst friends. Perfect!

Trebah outdoor theatre

Trebah Garden is just outside Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth. Postcode for satnavs: TR11 5JZ. It’s approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Bosinver. It often hosts live performances including puppetry, pyrotechnics, dance and theatre enhanced by the wonderful setting of the riverside gardens. It has a 300 seat amphitheatre which is a wonderful venue for plays and concerts – check out their 2019 programme.

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