Easy Returns. We Ship worldwide. 

Rowena Cade - Badass Female Builder of the Minack Theatre

Rowena Cade


Illustration by katrinasophia.com 

Rowena Cade was a bit of a badass in my eyes, and I only learn't about her last year after visiting the Minack theatre in Cornwall, whilst on a family holiday.

As you may know, I have a soft spot for any woman who has the ability to build something. Reading Rowena's story blew my mind, especially as I was able to stand in awe of her creation, right on the edge of a Cornish cliff face.  So what did she do? or build I hear you say?!

Lets start at the beginning. Rowena discovered the Minack headland in Cornwall after the she and her mother moved to Cornwall following the first world war. She actually purchased the land for a mere 100 pounds. Now, she did what any good woman would do just after the first world war,  she  built a house for herself and her mother using granite from St.Levan. I know what you are thinking, that's some major brownie points right there.  Well, if you think that is impressive just wait until you hear what she did next.

Throughout the 1920's her house and its garden provided the setting for many amateur theatre productions. To her credit, Rowena had another talent besides house building.   She was a pretty talented costume and production set designer. After successful a few years, Rowena decided to build a simple stage and some seating on a cliff edge.  With the help of two craftsmen who built the stage, after six months she had constructed the original outdoor theatre that would go onto rival an ancient coliseum.  The first performance on the stage was in the summer of 1932. It was lit by batteries and car headlights.


Minack Theatre - Aerial photo
Minack Theatre as it stands today and still has productions running all summer long.

As the productions became more and more popular, Rowena Cade at the age of thirty, was ready to expand on the theatre so she started to build what is now famously known as the Minack Theatre.

Over the years, Rowena Cade developed techniques for working with cement. Using the tip of a screwdriver she decorated surfaces with lettering and Celtic designs before they hardened.

What blow's my mind about Rowena is she fetched the sand from Porthcurno beach and carried huge beams from the shoreline up to the theatre, all on her own. She worked tirelessly into her mid eighties working on the theatre through some of the harshest winters, continuing with the heavy jobs.  I don't think I will ever moan again about carrying a sledge hammer across site again! :).

Let's all just take a second to celebrate just how incredible this woman is!. I am truly inspired by her work. If you are ever in Cornwall, be sure to go and check out the theatre, you will not be disappointed.


Older Post
Newer Post

1 comment

  • Hi Michelle, stumbled across your piece as my bro is currently on holiday in Cornwall & has posted photos of this amazing theatre (in which he commented “the best so far ♥️“ about his hol) which led me to google who this woman was. Yet another truly inspiring woman! 💪💕 Love it. Loving your site too & the messages contained therein 💪💕 together we can do this! Keep up the good work. A t-shirt purchase to help spread/show the message is on the cards ♥️ love it. Thanks.

    Janet Raith

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)

10% Off Your First Order

Thanks for checking us out, we would love to have you part of our Tribe! No rules, just a group of Badass T-shirt wearing women taking charge and killing it together. #shewhodareswins Join for your 10% DISCOUNT!

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Main menu

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now