‘A Message to PK Porthcurno’ – The Cornish Caretakers
Our second Cornish Caretakers show and workshop tour for Cornish Primary Schools
By Emily Harrison
The Cornish Caretakers do exactly what they say on the tin – they take care of Cornish Heritage and History. Created by the wonderful (and actual) King of Kernow himself, Edward Rowe, they have so far toured three shows to over 30,000 primary-aged children! How is that for keeping history alive and well? The Cornish Caretakers first show was all about famous Cornish men and women, the second about mining (and involved a recreation of Richard Trevithick’s puffing devil steam engine), and here we are now on the third – A Message to PK Porthcurno.
This is where I come in, Mrs Penrose Pengilly Penwarth, to be precise – also known as Emily Harrison. My colleague Mr Rodda Rowe Rescorla (the brilliant Edward Rowe) and I have been SO excited to share with over 10,000 children the ways in which humans have communicated throughout history. And how our very own PK Porthcurno, in Cornwall, connected the ENTIRE world with copper (more recently fibre optic) cables. But, in true Cornish Caretakers style, it’s never quite that simple…
Wrong boxes, broken cables, pooping pigeons, pesky pasty appreciation, and overthrown headteachers are just some of the obstacles the Cornish Caretakers must overcome, all whilst deciphering a huge host of messages from smoke signals to semaphores.
This tour has been an absolute whirlwind of delight for me to take part in as both a performer and practitioner. When our tour first began in March 2022, we were often the first assembly the schools had had with all the students post covid. It is such an honour to be a part of something that not only brought children back together again but caused roars of laughter while sparking intrigue and imagination. That isn’t even mentioning just how educational the show is, jam-packed with fun facts and various communication devices.
In my other work, I often host drama workshops for primary-aged children all over Cornwall. This often means working with children who have seen A Message to PK Porthcurno, and I am never less than amazed by the sheer amount of facts they remember from the show. As a practitioner, seeing first-hand the positive influence a show can have on its audience is both rare and extremely rewarding.
To top it off, the show is directed by Olivier award-winning director Simon Harvey. Tucked away in a cupboard pressing the buttons for music, lighting, imagery and sound effects, is Lee Bartholomew. I’ve really enjoyed keeping Mr Rodda Rowe Rescorla in check, even putting him in a time-out when needed. Big thanks to PK Porthcurno, Lee Bartholomew, Simon Harvey, and of course, Edward Rowe for making this magic happen – I’ve loved being a part of it.
Written by Emily Harrison