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the arc’s approach to creative theatre collaboration – and one that has served the company well for many years – is simple. Our method (initially born out of necessity and now out of choice) is to combine the talents and experience of professional and community artists with a professional production team. This  two-way process enables professionals and community performers to learn equally from each others’ skills and experience. the arc has no hierarchy: performers, production, technical crew, support team all do everything – make tea, sweep backstage, load the truck – in order to build a happy, creative and productive ship. Again, the collaboration is born out of necessity – but it’s proved to be extremely desirable. When we say ‘collaborate’ we mean it: we only make new work, so productions are built from the bones of a new script. The first time the writer hears his/her work is when we do a first read-through, and from that moment onwards, until the show opens, we work together in a truly collaborative fashion to create and develop character, study motivation, push the narrative drive, and ensure the desired emotional punch hits its mark – and that the jokes work! We treat our work seriously, and we treat our responsibility to the arc’s members and audiences equally seriously, in order to achieve a deeper and more fulfilling experience for all (we have hundreds of testimonials from past crew members and audiences) – and ultimately to have a lot more fun along the way. Our aim is to make ‘total’ theatre with strong and universal themes that reflect an authentic contemporary Cornwall.




The Last Shout, a new play to mark the 200th anniversary of the lifeboat service, will premiere at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in September 2024. Written by Simon Parker and directed by Mark Laville, it explores courage, self-sacrifice and our innate need to help others. The play offers both a message of hope and an acknowledgement that, more than ever, we all need stories to make sense of our lives and to find our place in the world. Utilising a dynamic soundscape, the production will immerse audiences in two worlds, past and present. The Last Shout is supported by Arts Council England, FEAST Cornwall, Falmouth University, AMATA and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

previous shows


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One village, three friends, fifty years of wondering. A rose-tinted view of old Cornwall in the minds of those who leave; the reality of rural poverty, second homes and altered communities for those who stay. A bittersweet story of enduring male friendship, that asks: have you ever wondered how life might have turned out if you’d made different decisions?
Written by Simon Parker. Directed by Ollie McFarlane. Design by Meier Williams.
Produced by Sarah Pym. Professional and community cast and crew.
Sterts Theatre Cornwall 2021

Mike Sagar-Fenton

The Cornishman

We’ve all seen a lot of drama about Cornwall and Cornishness, from local plays to effing Poldark, but they rarely feel authentic. It’s harder than it looks, either falling into cutesiness for those who’ve never really engaged with us, or the doomy if true laments for our general hardship, sad history and lack of opportunity. But Poltroon was spot-on, telling the truth about second homes, loss of local families, house prices, and all the other unwelcome changes, but keeping the essential sense of humour and irony which runs through the Cornish spirit.

Jenny Alexander

The Free-Range Writer

A great night. All the depth and emotion I expect from this team. I’ve only lived in Cornwall for forty years, but there isn’t a place that is more home to me, so I loved how the play looked at the issues but felt entirely inclusive.
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third light

Herodsfoot 1914: thirteen men march off to war. Herodsfoot 1918: thirteen men return home. Set on Remembrance Day 1971, two old soldiers reminisce. A true story of Cornwall’s only ‘fortunate village’, the anti-war narrative explores themes of good fortune, bad luck, faith, class and friendship.
Written by Simon Parker. Directed by Nicola Rosewarne. Choreography by Ben Dunks. Design by Meier Williams. Produced by Sarah Pym. Music by Sir Malcolm Arnold performed by St Pinnock Brass Band. 80-strong professional and community cast and crew.
Sterts Theatre Cornwall 2014
Minack Theatre Cornwall 2018

Mark Camp

Visit Cornwall

There are going to be many plays and films based on the First World War over the next few years... but this one will be up there with the best of them.

​Katherine Arnold

 daughter of

Sir Malcolm Arnold

Wonderful. Dad would have been so pleased to have his music used in this way. All the music was so well integrated into such a fantastic, thought provoking evening.
Third Light, seen in the fogbound light of a classic Minack evening, was wholly absorbing. Brilliant work, in the writing of it, and in the unforced and compelling performances by all concerned.     

Des Hannigan

St Ives Times and Echo

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Minions Moor 1837. The Cornish copper boom. Inward migration tops three thousand. Shacks, ale shops, whorehouses, missionaries. Filth, danger, poverty. A farming family divided. Do the mines deliver opportunity or only wreak destruction? A universal story of change, and our individual responses to it.
Written by Simon Parker. Directed by Simon Harvey. Music by Simon Dobson. Produced by Sarah Pym. 100-strong professional and community cast and crew.
Sterts Theatre Cornwall 2009

Jackie Butler

Western Morning News

As well as being funny and charming and heartbreaking in equal measure, the tale unfolds in the language of the people, its language rich in authentic Cornish dialect, bringing to life the very human side of the Industrial Revolution.

Anna Murphy


A wonderful piece of work. Lovely, lovely writing – an absolute joy from start to finish. 

other shows

Other shows from the arc include A Star On The Mizzen (toured), Seven Stars (toured), Mad Dog (Barbican Theatre, Plymouth), The Illegible Bachelor (Drum Theatre, Plymouth).

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Simon Parker, creative director

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Sarah Pym, producer


Jessie Parker, associate producer

the arc is grateful to FEAST Cornwall, Arts Council England, Cornwall Council, Cornish Mining World Heritage, Hall for Cornwall, The Minack, Sterts, The Cottam Family, and all of the performers and crew, family, friends and audiences for their continued support

Key contributors include directors Nicola Rosewarne, Simon Harvey, Ollie Mcfarlane, choreographer Ben Dunks, designers Laura Mackenzie and Meier Williams, composers Simon Dobson and Tom Parker (Barefoot), St Pinnock Brass Band.

Photography by Meier Williams, Steve Tanner, Julia Chalmers, Jessie Parker

Website design by Jessie Parker

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