Born in 1893, Rowena Cade was considered an unusual British woman. Living on the southern tip of England, near Lands End, Cade, along with friends and family staged open air performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After two successful summers, the players decided to perform The Tempest. Cade, in a decision that would shape her life, offered the rocky outcrop next to her garden, with the dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, as the perfect home for the tragedy. Following a write-up in The Times of the play, Cade wanted to make it a permanent theater house.
Despite being in an impractical location, Cade was determined. Along with two other builders, she hauled granite and timber up from the beach below and down through her garden to build up this open air playhouse. Sadly, their work was ravaged during World War II. Cade, determined, simply rebuilt the structure after the war.
The theater, sadly, could not balance its books on the sales of summer tickets alone. In 1976, Cade gave the Minack Theatre to a Charitable Trust, which continues to manage the operations. The Trust has also opened a year-round visitor’s center.