Kneehigh’s Asylum epitomizes summer. Location: One Huge Theatre-Tent, A Field, Cornwall. Visiting The Asylum is more akin to a festival than a ‘normal’ theatre experience, with benches surrounded the tent, live musicians during the performance, a bar till midnight, a barbecue, rustic Cornish companies providing food and a general aura of festivity.
I volunteered last season at The Asylum (2011) and met an amazing group of people of all ages; a community all eager to sweep, clean, distribute programmes and entertain drivers in the mist, wearing fetching fluorescent jackets. We all donned wellies for the rainy nights and were particularly proud of the Asylum aprons worn by all the volunteers.
(I’m the one madly dancing the box-step at 0.27 seconds.)
Last year there were two shows during the season. This year the full programme is yet to be announced, but includes the new show ‘Steptoe & Son’ and the Asylum will be open from July 21st to August 26th.
Kneehigh is famous for its use of fairytale and folklore; inventive and physical story-telling; distinctive, live music and a surrealist, macabre edge. They have been criticised of late for rehearsing the same tropes, with a pair of red shoes rocking up in more than one production, and flying being an overused motif. Nonetheless, the company never fail to entertain with lyrical storytelling, particularly appealing to the young at heart.
A Day Out in Cornwall. Cornish residents can take advantage of reduced tickets. See The Asylum website for details.