Local housebuilders help raise the curtain for community theatre project

By Persimmon Homes Cornwall & West Devon - 20th November 2023

The developers behind the Trehenlis Gardens site in Helston has recently supported a theatre history project in the town.

As part of its Community Champions initiative, Persimmon Homes Cornwall & West Devon donated £1,100 to Trevow Helston – a new initiative working to invigorate underused and disused spaces in Helston with high-quality and ambitious live events – who is working in partnership with the Museum of Cornish Life.

The funds will pay for four days of research into the town’s theatres as part of an exhibition into the history of these entertainment venues. The cheque was presented to the organisation at the Boating Lake, home to an old theatre in the town.

The five-star builder’s donation comes from its Community Champions scheme which sees £24,000 used to help good causes and much-valued organisations in Cornwall and West Devon every year. Recent recipients include Cornwall Air Ambulance.

Persimmon Homes Cornwall & West Devon Sales Director Jane Cartwright said: “The Museum of Cornish Life is an organisation we’ve been aware of for a while and we were lucky to be in a position to support a project it will be hosting in partnership with Trevow Helston.

“Our Community Champions scheme has been well-utilised to help several different kinds of organisations since its inception, and we are pleased to support the local organisation and initiatives given the recent start of construction at our new site in Helston.  

“And whilst our data shows that the large majority of our customers are from the localities in which we build, I’m sure newcomers to Trehenlis Gardens as well as long-term residents of Helston will really appreciate the chance to better understand the town and its history through this exciting initiative.”

Annette MacTavish from the Museum of Cornish Life added: “We’re really excited to be part of this project to investigate and showcase Helston’s rich theatrical history, and delighted that Persimmon is supporting the work by funding Trevow’s research.

“We know that in past centuries Helston had a number of temporary and permanent entertainment venues which fell into disuse.

“Trevow is working to uncover more information about them, and along with Persimmon we cannot wait to see the results and eventually host an exhibition here at the Museum of Cornish Life."

Director of Trevow Helston Guy Watson: "We recently discovered a poster from the early 20th century announcing a variety of shows at the Sanders's Brittania Theatre, based on the Lower Green in Helston. Fellow Helstonians will know that the Lower Green is the area that is now Coronation Park and the Boating Lake.

“As a new organisation with an ambition to bring more theatre and other live events into the town, this was an exciting discovery.

It's clear that Helston has a rich history of performing arts and to know how to regularly bring the town alive with theatre again, we want to understand more about the plays, musicals and "comic singing", as mentioned in the original poster, that took place here some 120 years ago.

“We're grateful for the support from Persimmon Homes and their Community Champions initiative, which will allow us to get stuck into the archives and pull together more information to share with residents and locals."

Persimmon recently broke ground on the first phase of its new Helston development, with the first properties becoming available in 2024.

The development would incorporate sensitive design, and reflect the local vernacular to deliver a long-term sustainable community.

Vast community benefits would also be delivered through the creation of new jobs, the transfer of a substantial number of homes to a local housing association partner to address local waiting lists, significant S106 contributions towards open space and improvements to Cornish education and transport.

... we are pleased to support the local organisation and initiatives given the recent start of construction at our new site in Helston.  

- Sales Director Jane Cartwright, Persimmon Homes Cornwall & West Devon
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