Did you know you can rent the Tolmen Centre for private parties and weddings for a very modest fee? It has a great atmosphere and is very well equipped.
During the month of March, following a successful showing of photographs by Gavin Saunders, the Tolmen Centre is now hosting an exhibition of watercolours by Tiffa Meadows who lives in Port Navas. Tiffa is a keen botanical artist who studied at Heligan and has undertaken commissions for the National Trust. She is also known locally for her evocative watercolours of the Helford.
Over the summer, we are seeing the arrival of a complete set of specially designed upholstered seat cushions for the Tolmen Centre theatre. Ever since the Centre opened as a performance place in 2002, we have been beset by the lack of comfort offered by the original wooden church pews. These are part of the ‘listed’ features of the building and can’t be physically altered – even if we wanted to.
In fact they are such an intrinsic part of the old chapel, and contribute so much to the much loved ambience of the Tolmen Centre, we would never want to replace them with modern theatre seats. So the compromise has been to commission made-to-measure upholstered foam cushions. These should make them more comfortable – or at least, much less uncomfortable! The Tolmen Centre’s days as a place of ‘numb bums’ may be over! If you have been reluctant to attend our performances because of the seats, please try the new seating – and hopefully you’ll be persuaded to come more often!
We are very grateful indeed to Cornwall Council’s Halls for Cornwall Fund for a substantial grant to cover this improvement, without which we would never have been able to afford the considerable cost: and to Perham Upholstery from Treverva who have designed and made the cushions for us. The new Autumn programme of events is just being distributed – pick one up from the Tolmen to see what’s on offer between now and Christmas.
Some kind soul has nominated us for the West Briton (WOCA) Awards as Best Theatre Venue in Cornwall. Obviously we are delighted and proud, though as the result will be determined mostly by ‘social media’ ie Facebook and Twitter which we don’t really understand or use, we haven’t a chance of winning – especially against The Hall For Cornwall and The Minack who are in a different league from us at The Tolmen Centre. We are community based, in a small village, run by volunteers – a minnow among venues. An honourable last place beckons!
However, we are proud of our record of promoting cutting edge theatre in Cornwall and being both careful and ambitious in what we put on. We also have a good record for having shows developed at our venue – no fewer than 13 companies in the last few years – from 1927, Theatre Adinfinitum, and Paper Cinema – nationally famous names – to most of the best known Cornish companies – Kneehigh, Miracle, Pipeline, Cscape and Cube amongst others have made work with us.
So if any folk feel like whipping up a storm of support for us, the link to circulate for voting is copied below:
Thanks to some new funding we are delighted to be able to restart the Thursday evening Drama group once again run by Jon and Tod Welch at the Tolmen Centre.
Age range is ten to a hundred and it’s open to all, but we are trying to maintain a balance across the age range, so places may initially be limited. It takes place on Thursday evenings, 7:00 – 9:00. Subscription is £1 a session.
If you’re interested please email Tod at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the time of writing, it looks pretty certain that the Tolmen Centre won’t be open for events for the next few months at least. Entertainment venues look like being one of the last categories to be re-opened, and our relatively top-heavy (age wise) audience and management team will make it a particular challenge for us.
We are very sorry not to be bringing you three top acts that were planned for the summer. Two dynamic trios from Scotland – first Talisk, then supergroup Lau – were due to be followed by female American duo Madison Violet.
We’ve tentatively accepted provisional rebookings for next year, but don’t forget that you can always find just about any artist on Youtube, Spotify or their own websites, to get a taste of what you’re missing!
Spare a thought for the thousands of musicians and other members of the performing arts whose livelihoods are being devastated by the Covid-19 epidemic. Many of them have been posting recordings and live performances on the internet, some of them asking for donations for charity or towards their own living expenses, sometimes both.
Locally some of us have enjoyed Martha Tilston’s two live gigs from her front room, just a mile or so from the centre of our village. Martha’s music and her infectiously warm personality offer hope and joy in gloomy times, and if you missed her you should be able to catch up at facebook.com/marthatilston
Another online concert (thanks for the tip, Sally H.!) can be found at folkonfoot.com/festival. This is no less than 7 hours of folk music from a wide range of performers, each performing in their front rooms. Among them are several who have performed at the Tolmen in the past, including John Boden, Martin Simpson, Bella Hardy, Peggy Seeger and Steve Knightley. Another artist featured is Kris Drever, one third of Lau. The online festival is raising funds for the Help Musicians charity, which is providing emergency grants to working musicians during the epidemic.
Keep listening to music, keep safe, and keep an eye out for better news in future.
Hello all Tolmen supporters: WE ARE STILL HERE! The Tolmen is closed – furloughed – probably for the rest of 2020, but be sure we will be back when all this virus stuff is behind us – even if it needs a vaccination to get us there.
While we are closed down we are taking the chance to get the Roof renewal project under way. We have just about scraped enough funding together to allow it to proceed – driven by the immense energies of our Chairperson Tracey Clowes – and it makes sense to get it done during this period of forced closure.
In the meantime, have a read – and a laugh – at this article from The Stage magazine by Ben Duke from LOST DOG DANCE about the joys of Rural Touring:
Those lucky enough to be at his two dance/theatre shows (Paradise Lost and Juliet and Romeo) will remember two of the best things we were lucky enough to attract to the Tolmen Centre. We get a nice mention too! Thanks Ben.
Also, to remind yourself of things we have done pre-lockdown, browse through the listing of our past shows. You’ll be reminded of the amazing things we’ve managed to bring to Cornwall over the past 15 years.
Theatre shows from Kneehigh, Miracle, Pipeline, Theatre Adinfinitum, Paper Cinema, 1927 Theatre, Luke Wright – among many:
And numerous equally amazing music shows – Ralph McTell and Wizz Jones, Talisk, The Budapest Cafe Orchestra, Peggy Seeger, all those Guitar Festivals a few years back. And countless Movies: And Book Club events: And Art Exhibitions: And Cafe Tolmen supporting all these.
Literally hundreds of performances. Far too many to list in fact.
So we have the track record – the history. And we will need to make more history when we get the whole show on the road again after the pandemic. It won’t be easy. We’ll need support. We’ll need new helpers as well as the old hands. But make no mistake – The Tolmen Centre will return to action.
People like what we do. We like doing it. And perhaps the lovely Ben Duke – echoing Lyn Gardner – sees too what we know – that small scale venues, run by enthusiasts, serving their local communities, offer great future prospects for live performance in remote – and not so remote – places
Here’s to the reopening of The Tolmen Centre – whenever it happens
Charlie and Barbara and the Tolmen Team
Don’t forget to try your hand with our ‘Through the Window’ project.
All you have to do is create something – on paper or online – faintly linked to the big Tolmen Centre window. Then send it to the special email address shown below.
It’s hoped that this will lead to an outside exhibition in the Tolmen Centre porch in August and also on this website.
So join in and have a go!