Lessons from a lifetime of resilience, tenacity and spirit
All my senses have come alive as I walk into this magical place. I’m standing at the top of a very steep, winding path down to a dramatic outdoor theatre carved out of the rock, barely clinging on to the edge of the cliffs. I am instantly transfixed by the sounds of a female choir, whose performance is so beautiful it is almost mystical. I wonder for a moment if anyone else can hear it. I feel a swelling of emotion in my chest, and it takes my breath away.
The colours are vivid, mostly dominated by the vast blue sea, edged with a pale pink horizon so wide you can almost see the curve of the earth. The light is different here, almost ethereal, lighting up the edge of the world.
As I take it all in, I am overwhelmed by the breath-taking beauty of my surroundings, appreciating the decades of toil and passion which have gone into creating it. I gasp and take in a deep, sharp breath of the salty sea air along with the sweet smell of the summer flowers which cascade from every imaginable nook and cranny in the rocks.
This was my first visit to Minack Theatre, 4 miles from Land’s End in Cornwall. I had the pleasure of another visit a few days ago while I was on holiday with my family. It’s hard to do justice to the impact this place has had on me. I was so inspired by the resilience, belief, tenacity and spirit of Rowena Cade, who designed and created the theatre.
What started as the dream of a young woman leading small Shakespeare plays became a life-long passion and toil to develop and repair the outdoor theatre to make bigger things happen. Rowena hauled wood and cement over the rocks and shaped each individual chair by hand, using a screwdriver to etch Celtic designs and the names of the productions which have been performed there. The most moving is a seat which is tribute to her builder’s mate Tom, who laboured alongside her for many years. Sadly the Second World War took its toll on the theatre and Rowena had to virtually start again. And she took on this labour of love with similar spirit and determination as before.
I recognise something really special in Rowena Cade. As well as her unwavering resilience, which lasted throughout her lifetime until she died at the age of 83, she believed in her ability to fulfil her dream. She followed it with creativity and passion, through all weather conditions and at one point virtual destruction. It's a lesson to us all in the Art of the Possible. Those things which we only dream about, and think "I could never do that"....well, you can if you put your mind to it and follow your heart.
I left feeling inspired and creative about my work with clients, noticing a new energy and ideas for ways to make breakthroughs and inspire new perspectives. What I do is never 'just a job' - it's so much bigger than that. It’s a privilege to be invited into people’s lives and to be able to hold a space for them to find that they have all the resources they need to be successful. I consider myself part of a global movement for positive change, and boy does the world need that right now!
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Gossamer wings hand-painted by Rowena for one of her early productions.