I met Claire from Carn to Cove earlier this year at an Eco Fair at Mount’s Bay Academy in Penzance. I’d heard of the organisation before, but I admit I hadn’t fully got my head how they work beyond a shaky understanding that they promoted theatre events in rural venues around Cornwall.
As Claire explained what they actually do, I loved what I heard. Carn to Cove are an Arts Funded creative hub – based in Redruth’s incredible Krowji Studios – with a network of volunteers around the County who host touring theatre and music performances in sports halls, chapels, and village halls around Cornwall. I was particularly tickled to hear that they even host events in Stoke Climsland – the village in North Cornwall that I grew up in.
Carn to Cove is part of Creative Kernow, the umbrella organisation that supports the production, promotion and distribution of work by creative practitioners in Cornwall.
If you live in rural Cornwall and enjoy theatre/music/performance, you’ve probably been to events that they’ve been involved in. Their MO is bringing high quality professional touring performances to rural communities. They also regularly host workshops which run alongside these performances which can range from mask making before a puppet show, dance workshops which can be performed as curtain raisers, to drama, music or singing workshops.
Carn to Cove operate by accepting applications from performers, curating their ‘menu’ of performances and offering them out to their network of promoters who pick and choose what they think will work in their community.
If you want to keep up to date with the shows they’re offering, sign up to their mailing list here: https://www.carntocove.co.uk/mailing-list/
What really floored me was the familiarity of it all. As some of the Packshare community know, I spent a lot of my 20s touring in a punk band, and this system of volunteer promoters hosting shows for the love of it and for the sake of getting performers into their community is exactly what I grew up with.
I was also delighted, but slightly surprised when Carn to Cove signed up to receive packaging through Packshare. I tend to think of Packshare as being an ideal solution for mailorder businesses, but I couldn’t instantly see the benefit to a company that promotes theatre performances.
Until I realised that they post out promotional materials. Posters, flyers, DVDs. All of that needs to be posted from the office to the volunteers, and with over 70 performances already this year, it involves a decent amount of packaging.
And even more than in the retail sector, there is no reason at all for that packaging needs to be brand new.
It really hit me for the first time that Packshare is perfect for businesses who ship items between sites and premises. I know from experience that a lot of businesses already reuse packaging for their internal post, and Packshare is a simple way of telling people where to take their packaging for it to be reused.
Carn to Cove believe that the creative sector is in a position to lead the way, championing new and interesting ways to practise environmental sustainability. For an industry that prides itself on forward thinking, sustainability should be central to everybody’s practise. And when the product that you’re selling is a performance, there’s no need to have a big impact on the environment.
Creatives are expected to innovate, and by incorporating Packshare into the way they do business, Carn to Cove are demonstrating their commitment to reducing their footprint and helping to lead the way in Cornwall.
Carn to Cove also know that innovations are best when they’re shared and are planning to deliver a series of sustainable practise skill-share events at Redruth’s creative hub Krowji to help artists and other small businesses share ideas and increase their knowledge and awareness of sustainability in the creative sector.
Here in Cornwall people always talk about how lucky we are to be surrounded by the coast and the scenery, but I’m constantly blown away by the amount of amazing schemes and opportunities, the wealth of creative talent, and the cultural drive towards sustainability which feels more genuine and practical than anywhere else in the country.
I hear visiting speakers shout time and time again that Cornwall is a world leader in sustainability. Determining the reason why always brings me back to something I read years ago from Kneehigh’s Mike Shepherd. He said “Cornwall is a place where you can make things happen”, which has stuck with me for so long because the longer I live here the more it seems so obviously true to me.
Like creating a network of volunteers to set up incredible theatre in village halls to make sure that everybody has access to creative performance. Like donating packaging to local businesses so that our little corner of the world isn’t overrun by waste, and to make sure that everybody benefits in the process. Cornwall is place where we make things happen because nobody else does it for us.
And I think our greatest export could be telling the rest of the world that they can make things happen where they are too.
Get in touch if you’d like to be involved with Packshare.
Find out more about Carn to Cove and Creative Kernow at: https://www.carntocove.co.uk/