The Plen Stage Map

Plen Stage Map

Our Logo Explained

Our logo is from an original stage plan used for one of the Cornish Ordinalia Cycle (The Creation of the World) and are among Britain’s oldest surviving theatrical documents, and largest original Cornish text. It depicts a central acting area surrounded by eight smaller stages, each depicting a place or  ‘mansion’ of the main characters in the play. 
Each play in the cycle had its own stage plan of eight stages some remaining consistent through all the plays e.g. heaven, hell.  The stages would all have been sited according to points of the compass.
Heaven was always in the East and arranged around the circle were the other characters of the play, in the South were the good people, the Church, Bishops and Kings. Another point of interests is that the audience also enters from the South as this is associated with paradise and is where a church is still entered from today. In the West were the great people of the earth and in the North the bad characters and Hell, so that upon entering the round the audience would have been immediately confronted with the terrifying and imposing ‘Hells Mouth’ instantly reminding them of where they were going if they did not behave!

Heaven stage

Heaven was an elevated stage sometimes built on stilts and consisting of two floors or levels with arrangements to allow the players to ascend or descend as the plot required, also as the sun set in the west it cast a shimmering golden glow on heaven in the east with God sitting on his mighty throne surrounded by angels.
Gigantic scenes such as Noahs Ark or battles were performed in the centre of the arena where there was more room; as the action of the play changed the audience’s attention would have been drawn to that stage or mansion, probably by The Ordinary.


The Devils Spoon

Hells Mouth

Hell would probably have been represented by a Monsters mouth but also incorporated into the Plens was a theatrical device called a ‘Devils Spoon’; this was a shallow tunnel with an opening on the outer wall of the playing place leading to the centre of the Plen with an open exit formed like a bowl or ‘spoon’; the players (probably devils) would run along this and spring up at a crucial point in the action, as if by magic, they would also be able to grab other players and carry them off as if into the bowels of the earth and Hell itself of course.
Going back to the Origins of the Cornish Miracle Plays which would have been  originally performed in the Churches, but when the crowds who flocked to see them became too big the outdoor theatres were constructed, the amphitheatre StagePlan makes complete sense. In the Church Heaven would have been the altar or stairs to the fiddlers gallery, Hell in the crypt and the steps down to it, and the good characters along the South side and the evil ones on the North.