Local Heroes - Seat Nomination Winners Nick Darke

3 September 2020

Last but most certainly not least, we have come to our final Local Hero to be nominated and chosen to have a seat named after them in our brand new auditorium. It's.... NICK DARKE.

Nicholas Temperley Watson Darke, known to all as Nick, was a playwright who was born in Cornwall. He was a passionate fisherman and wrecker ( beachcomber) and conservationist.

Nick was educated at St Merryn Primary School, Truro Cathedral School and Newquay Grammar School before training as an actor at the Rose Bruford College in Kent. After making his professional début in repertory at the Lyric, Belfast, he went on to learn his craft at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, where he acted in over eighty plays and directed several more. At Stoke he wrote his first full-length play, Never Say Rabbit in a Boat in 1977. He gave up acting to write full-time in 1978. Over the next twenty-eight years, he wrote twenty-seven plays which have been performed in theatres all over the world. He also wrote for radio, television and film.

Many of his plays reflect Cornish society and culture such as the tin mining, countryside, fishermen and the quirky nature of country living. During the later part of his career he worked regularly with the theatre company Kneehigh Theatre. His literary voice is very distinctive and although many of his characters, plots and settings are rooted in the Cornish past, his themes are often of relevance to the Cornwall of today. As one of his earliest reviews, in The Financial Times stated: "Darke gives shape to a Cornish identity that feels vital and real and has nothing to do with clay pipes and clotted cream".

Nick sadly died in 2005 and his work has continued to be celebrated and performed by many. Indeed, in 2018/19 we produced a festival entitled NICK DARKE 70, celebrating Nick’s work and legacy in what would have been his 70th year. With a whole host of collaborators, we created new composite works Riots & Lobsters with Jim Carey and Darke Women with Bec Applebee, and also staged a musical version of Hell’s Mouth performed at HFC by our Youth Company and a new documentary film developed by Jane Darke.

We are thrilled to be able to honour and remember Nick in our new auditorium.

Nick at the original Hells Mouth rehearsals at the RSC, courtesy of Jane Darke
HFC Youth perform Nick Darke's Hell's Mouth at HFC in 2018