Discovering the story of Estah, a Cornish Bal Maiden, against the breath-taking backdrop of the World Heritage Site at Heartlands was truly wonderful. It will certainly be one of my lasting memories of this summer.
This inventive production weaves together threads of Cornwall’s mining past. From the far-flung journeys of our intrepid miners, to the difficult lives of those left behind and the strong community bonds formed through tragedy, hard work and adversity. Stories that still ring true today.
The performance pulls the audience along, both physically and emotionally, and immerses you into the story through a combination of song, dance, and dynamic visual and verbal story-telling. Atmospheric singing, including many traditional Cornish hymns and ballads, is provided by community choirs, the soulful Red River Singers and the Ingleheart Singers.
Estah’s Story is the latest offering from director David Greeves, who also worked as Lead Puppeteer on the mighty Man Engine which drew huge crowds across Cornwall in 2018. ‘A sky-high, spectacle of aerial performances set to take audience members on an emotionally-stirring journey through the highs and lows of the reality of mining times.’
David Greeves is Artistic and Creative Director of Yskynna, a vertical dance company whose daring antics dangling from the pit mining head are the highlight of the show. David says:
“We are so excited to bring the Cornish mining story reality to the skies and throughout the Heartlands site this August and to Tavistock a little later on. Estah’s Story showcases the deeply moving reality of our Cornish ancestors, including elements such as love, tragedy, loss and poverty. We are sure that audiences will thoroughly enjoy and connect with all aspects of the story as they come on this journey with us. We are really proud to have some phenomenal creatives involved from a number of different disciplines; we have fantastic vertical and aerial dancers, actors, as well as abstract artists and sculptors through to very talented costume designers.”
Heartlands as a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site has a story of its own, from industrial and economic success to decline and abandonment. It is wonderful to see this space finding new life with events such as this one. The aerial performers use the remarkable architecture and mining equipment to great effect and as the sun sets the lighting adds a special kind of drama to the action.
Estah’s Story runs until 23rd August 2019.
Tickets start from £6 for a child/ £10 for an adult and can be
purchased from Heartlands.
It is an entirely standing performance so attendees can feel free to bring their own chairs should they wish to or feel that they need to.
*I was not paid for this review