Address: The Acorn, Parade Street, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4BU
Telephone: 01736 363545
By Rochelle Carr
Hidden away down a small side street off Penzance’s historic Chapel Street sits a 19th century chapel. Stained-glass windows and worn steps lead into what is now The Acorn, a dedicated centre for the arts in their various incarnations. Apart from a brief period of closure in 2010, the theatre has been welcoming in audiences for a variety of performances and events – from international live music and theatre to regional talent and community events – for the past 45 years.
With a Notre Dame-esque feel, with stained windows and mysterious depths, the old characteristics bring personality to the whole building. The Acorn has a loyal following, attracting a diverse range of audiences and performers. Once you’ve been to one act, you’ll certainly be back again for more.
The Acorn has quite the reputation in the west of Cornwall for an innovative – sometimes quirky – programme of events, encompassing theatre, dance, music, films, comedy, poetry, storytelling and more. The quirks don’t end with the acts that are performed. The impressive ceiling of the theatre was all painted in one night, and if you’ve seen it you’ll understand just how big of a feat that is. The impulsive decision to paint the ceiling came 10 years ago, on the last night before the scaffolding that was up to do building maintenance came down. It turned out to be quicker than the Sistine Chapel!
With room for 170 people sitting or 230 standing, the venue has a Tardis-like quality, growing and expanding as you explore the building further. Downstairs, the basement bar and stage is an attractive venue in itself, with red velvet curtains and cabaret-style seating lending it the atmosphere of an old-time cabaret theatre. It now also has a state-of-the-art projector which allows for performances upstairs to be shown at the same time downstairs via the screen. As well as the well-stocked bar, light snacks, teas and coffees are available during the day.
Penzance LitFest is delighted that The Acorn will once again be the main hub for the Penzance Literary Festival 2015. Tickets will be available to book in person at the Acorn Box Office (Thursdays and Fridays, 11 –2 pm) in the run-up to the festival. And programmes, tickets and event information will be available from the Box Office throughout the festival.
In 2014, one intrepid festival-goer travelled all the way from France to the Penzance Literary Festival for the infamous Gruffalo’s Tea Party event, only to discover when she arrived at The Acorn Box Office that it had been fully booked. Of course, such dedication was rewarded, but still a note for next time…If you’re coming from France, book in advance! Indeed, pre-booking is highly recommended for all Penzance LitFest events, and with advance tickets costing less than on-the-door for the 2015 programme, it’s even easier on your pocket too.
Disabled access for The Acorn is through the car park at the back, there is a lift to the basement where the disabled toilets are located.
Find out more: theacornpenzance.com