Miracle Theatre presents: Tin

20 March — 21 April 2012

This exciting collaboration between Cornwall's Miracle Theatre and English Touring Opera featuring Ben Luxon and local community choirs is a heady mix of epic theatre, multimedia magic and top notch singing!

This exciting collaboration between Cornwall's Miracle Theatre and English Touring Opera featuring Ben Luxon and local community choirs is a heady mix of epic theatre, multimedia magic and top notch singing!

Miracle Theatre Company is one of the South West's foremost touring theatre companies with a reputation for producing entertaining, intelligent and funny theatre. For 32 years, they have been touring to the far flung corners of Cornwall popping up and performing their shows, mainly for one night only, in unexpected places. During the summer you'll find them at ancient sites, gardens, castles and beaches and in the winter, tucked up in village halls and rural venues. However, this March and April Miracle is ringing the changes with ‘Tin' a large scale collaboration with English Touring Opera (ETO), commissioned by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

Tin is touring to four venues in Cornwall, opening on the 20th March at the new Heartlands site in Pool, - situated right in the heart of the Cornish Mining landscape. After 14 performances, it will take residence on one of Cornwall's most westerly cliff-tops, in a large geodesic dome in front of the historic Count House at Botallack Mine during Easter Week (2nd to 9th April). Devon is next stop at The Wharf, Tavistock on 11th and 12th and then ‘Tin' is back in Cornwall at Sterts, the uniquely covered outdoor venue in Upton Cross, Liskeard, between 17th and 21st April, before the tour ends at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro on 23rd & 24th April.

Miracle Director Bill Scott explains how the company's largest and most ambitious project to date has come to fruition:

"Tin has been brewing since 1994 when I was touring with Miracle in north Devon. We were performing at the Beaford Centre, which was showing an exhibition of old photos from the Beaford Archive. These included a small picture of a travelling opera company, who were in High Bickington to perform Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera. This old photo gripped my imagination: here were people doing the same thing as Miracle Theatre, in the same place, almost 100 years before. However, they were attempting grand opera! I immediately began to develop the script of the trials and tribulations encountered by a tiny theatre company touring epic opera to village halls around Devon and Cornwall in 1900.

At around the same time a friend suggested the nineteenth century Cornish novel, Tin, written by Edward Bosanketh. It tells the true story of a banking fraud that occurred in St Just. Bosanketh had been careful to change the names of the protagonists and set it in the fictional town of Camruth. However, the characters were perfectly recognisable to anyone living in the district, especially the directors of the local bank who were the perpetrators of the dodgy dealings at the centre of the story. On its publication in 1888, the bank attempted to buy and destroy all copies of the book. Fortunately a few escaped and a facsimile edition was published in 1988 by Justin Brooke, an expert in all aspects of mining, especially its finances.

I began a script based on ‘Tin' but couldn't keep the itinerant opera company out of the story. Before long they had been booked by the local vicar to perform Fidelio in the town hall and, during their stay, would become embroiled as ‘out adventurers' in the bank's fraudulent schemes. In my version the mine and the bank provide the background to a story about love and greed, focusing on the interactions between the two very different worlds of tin mining and travelling theatre, at its heart it's a love story.

When the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Cultural Events Programme put out a call for partners in 2008, Miracle successfully pitched the emerging script. The WHS programme which aims to increase awareness and appreciation of Cornish Mining culture and bring its stories to new audiences was a perfect fit.

Deborah Boden Cornish Mining World Heritage Site co-ordinator explained "The way to bring World Heritage Sites to life is to tell the stories of the people who created these globally important places, and ‘Tin' is a creative exploration of a nineteenth century mining community's way of life. If you engage an audience's emotions through a story, they will remember that story forever. ‘Tin' will enable people today to identify with our ancestors and brings their experience much closer."
Bill concluded ‘after many years in development it's both exciting and rewarding to see ‘Tin' taking shape.'
The operatic music in ‘Tin' is sung by performers from English Touring Opera (ETO), the UK's leading touring opera company. This production contains sections of music from Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, and also music written specifically for the play by Cornish composer Russell Pascoe.

Led by musical director, David Keefe, a team of professional ETO singers and players not only take on acting roles within the combined cast of Miracle professionals, but join forces with schools and community choirs from across Cornwall and Devon to become the ‘village chorus'.
ETO's Artistic Associate Tim Yealland says: For ETO this partnership with Miracle is perfect from every point of view, not least because it allows us to work alongside Cornwall's most vibrant theatre company it also lets us tap into the deep roots of Cornwall's powerful singing tradition.
Completing the cast is famous Cornish baritone Benjamin Luxon. Ben gave up performing opera due to hearing loss and moved to America to focus on his acting career. His much anticipated return to the Cornish stage sees him play the pivotal character ‘East.' 

Miracle Theatre has deftly combined all the elements of a truly memorable theatre experience with their latest production. A gripping storyline, credible casting and high quality music, all performed against a backdrop of innovative film projection.

Be sure not to miss out -TIN tickets are now on sale.
For full venue, dates, booking links and further information go to: www.miracletheatre.co.uk