The Poly: Falmouth
Culture vulture: theatre lover: science geek: history buff: art lover: simply cool. The Poly is the place to go. Officially known as The Royal Polytechnic Society, this is the inclusive member’s club that you will want to be a part of.
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24 Church Street,
A history as fascinating and as rich as the Bayeux Tapestry, The Poly has been encouraging innovation and championing culture since 1833. Founded by two ‘Foxy’ daughters of Falmouth, The Poly drew together people keen to develop Cornwall as a place for art, culture and science. The magnificent building was erected after the society received royal patronage from the dashing King William IV in 1835. Encouraging innovation through financial awards, The Poly has an impressive history of benefactors and demonstrations – my favourite being Alfred Nobel’s dicing with dynamite for the first time (anywhere in the world) at The Poly, a mention of which you can find on the Nobel Prize website– explosive stuff eh? Dangerously The Poly faced closure due to tough financial times hitting the funded bodies and art venues. Saving The Poly became a huge facebook and public campaign started by the now manager – Ciaran.
Visiting The Poly is a bit of a must, architecturally the venue is fantastic. Generously high ceilings, Tudor rose decorations and open space so rare to find in fishing towns; and situated right in the centre of Falmouth town. Boasting an impressive collection of artwork by Henry Scott Tuke and historic photographic slides, it is an indulgence in educational and fascinating nostalgia. The fabulous library is decked out with an ancient captain’s chair so you can chill out amongst the archives and potter around the decadent exhibition rooms, which lend themselves to both contemporary and vintage displays.
My favourite, the heart of The Poly, and the diamond in its multi gem-encrusted crown is the theatre. Dressed up to the nines (following a toddler style, imaginative expletives, wardrobe tantrum) I sashayed into The Poly for a night watching the acclaimed Plasticine Men perform Keepers. Dubbed as: “A beautifully crafted piece of no-frills physical theatre”, by Lyn Gardner of the Guardian, I was anticipating something pretty damn special. The performance was simply stunning, expressive, and so slick that it took my breath away. I won’t give away the story, but suffice to say it was unsettling and upsetting in a way that left me intrigued and excited. The venue was intimate and exposing, a contrast that kept me safe but generated an electric atmosphere. Packed right out, this is a favourite haunt for those who love the different and the quirky, as well as the mainstream and pop culture. Many a cult classic has aired in the theatre which also doubles as a cinema, showcasing both blockbusters and art productions alike.
One mustn’t forget that this prestigious centre is a charity, reliant on patrons of the arts and the sciences. Supporting The Poly is an endeavour that is feelgood in more ways than just ticking the charity subscribers’ box. From special evenings dedicated to members only, early bird offers to the fabulous theatre and much more, joining The Poly is being part of a cutting edge gentleman’s club – cigars and explosions all the way. Don your furs and mosey down to Falmouth for an evening of history and entertainment that will leave you harking back to an age where eccentric inventors in bowler hats roamed wild and free.
Exclusive Poly membership is:
£20 for individuals
£30 for two people sharing the same address
£15 for a student
Contact: Sarah Hunt – Membership Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org