• sheilavanloo

Opening Night at The Minack 2020

The People’s String Foundation

Minack Theatre

The future of live indoor performances remains uncertain, but we can finally enjoy a few outdoor events once more. Slowly the ‘new normal’ is unveiling itself to audiences and Cornwall’s fabulous Minack Theatre is leading the way, their 2020 season got off to a great start last night with a superb show from The People’s String Foundation.

Exactly 2 years ago the Hall For Cornwall closed prior to a long overdue refurb with a grand finale sell out show performed by Ben Sutcliffe and Zaid Al-Rikabi leading their full 32 piece People’s String Foundation Orchestra. The show was the realisation of a dream for Ben and Zaid as they premiered Res Publica, a magnificent work featuring 12 tracks recorded live on the night. An audience of 600+ were on their feet with a richly deserved 3 minute standing ovation at the end of the performance.

Fast forward to the different world of 2020 where social distancing is de rigeur and we are living in ‘bubbles’, desperate for live theatre, music and festivals. The Minack’s choice of PSF to kick start the new season was bitter sweet, on the one hand we could enjoy a live performance with amazing musicians while the downside was the stark realisation that the phrase ‘sold out’ now carries an entirely different meaning for performers, theatres and audiences. Filmed and streamed live, online viewers suddenly understood what a ‘full theatre’ actually looks like, with the audience widely spaced in their own socially distanced ‘bubbles’. Last night’s performance stirred up a whole range of emotions, the excitement of once again enjoying a live performance from a real venue and the joy of hearing Ben and Zaid’s fabulous music to the backdrop of the heart stopping beauty that is the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, this was a landmark opening night, but tinged with sadness as the boys played their hearts out to a much reduced audience.

Ben and Zaid never disappoint, their incredible musicianship fills the stage whether the People’s String Foundation is a 32 piece orchestra playing to a packed auditorium or simply 2 guys on a Cornish cliff top performing to a small number of socially distanced appreciative fans. Many more fans tuned in from their sofas last night cheering and clapping every song, the boys couldn’t hear us or see the living room standing ovation at the end of the night, but the online love was palpable.

Congratulations to everyone at the Minack for an inspired choice to celebrate the beginning of your summer programme and for allowing those of us at home to share a very special evening.

Find out more about PSF at www.thepeoplesstringfoundation.com follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Res Publica is available on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-peoples-string-foundation/295510557

The Minack has a wonderful season lined up, but please book early to avoid disappointment in these socially distanced times www.minack.com

Sheila Vanloo

July 2020

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