New amphitheatre has opened at Trebah Gardens. The project took 18 months and its first event was Miracle Theatre performing The Tempest Shaken and Stirred, with all 250 seats for the first night selling out.
Since the first turf was cut in November 2012, head gardener Darren Dickey worked almost single-handed to create the structure using locally sourced granite and finished with sandstone seats.
Nigel Burnett, Trebah’s director, said: “The idea of an exciting new feature for the garden, that also provides a space for performing arts at Trebah, arose after the area was cleared of rhododendron ponticum with a grant from the Forestry Commission several years ago.
“A new path was created through a small valley.
“At the head of this valley the amphitheatre was created – it is within a natural ‘bowl’ and fits well into the topography of the garden.
“The project has had phenomenal support from the local community, members and visitors, who have watched its evolution with admiration and anticipation.
“Pleasingly, the project has mostly been funded by generous donations from a Friends’ adopt-a-seat scheme.”
However, it has also had some criticism, with four letters of complaint received by Cornwall Council’s planning department when retrospective planning was sought.
These related to noise impact on neighbours, loss of trees and impact on the garden and area of outstanding natural beauty.
The planning department said: “It is regrettable the unauthorised works have resulted in damage to a number of trees surrounding the development, but given the number remaining this damage is unlikely to result in substantial visual change or harm to the site as whole.”