Sarah McQuaid announces UK dates for the autumn

Credit: Photo by Phil Nicholls

Singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid has announced a 23-show autumn UK tour for November plus a high-profile hometown show later this month in West Cornwall, England, where she’s lived since 2007.  World-renowned for its dramatic cliffside setting, Cornwall’s Minack Theatre – where Sarah will be performing on Friday August 25th – was the brainchild of Rowena Cade, a remarkable woman who used an old screwdriver to etch intricate designs into concrete mixed with sand she herself had carried up from the beach in sacks. It opened to the public with a production of The Tempest in 1932, but Rowena continued working on her theatre well into her eighties.

“It’s a massive honour to be performing in such an iconic venue,” says Sarah, “and it’s only a few miles up the road from where I live. The seats are built into the cliffside, so when you’re onstage you’ve got the sea behind you, and there’s always a risk of getting upstaged by dolphins!”

Two days after her Minack show, Sarah will be headlining the Cornwall Folk Festival’s Sunday evening concert at the John Betjeman Centre in Wadebridge, Cornwall.

“We’ll be flying out of Heathrow the day after the Cornwall Folk Festival gig,” Sarah says ruefully, “so instead of a post-show celebration we’ll be frantically repacking everything, weighing our suitcases and driving a few hours down the road that night, so that we don’t have to panic about getting stuck in traffic on the Monday morning.”

Born in Spain (to a Spanish father and American mother), Sarah grew up in the USA, lived in Ireland for many years and moved in 2007 to Cornwall, where she swiftly struck up a friendship with a fellow mum outside the gates of their children’s school. That fellow mum turned out to be Zoë Pollock, writer and performer of 1991 UK Top 5 single “Sunshine On A Rainy Day.”

The pair soon found themselves co-writing songs for an album released in 2008 under the band name Mama, lauded by MOJO’s Colin Irwin as “a pleasingly maverick mix” and by The Irish Times as “Janis Joplin’s freewheeling spirit crossed with Joni Mitchell’s lyrical density.”

“I owe Zoë a massive debt of gratitude for getting me into songwriting in a serious way,” says Sarah. “Prior to that I’d thought of myself basically as a folksinger who happened to write an occasional song, but through working with Zoë I not only learned a hell of a lot about the craft of songwriting, but also just the fact of someone of her calibre wanting to co-write with me was what finally gave me the confidence to start focusing on my own original material.

“And of course, if it weren’t for Zoë I’d never have met Martin” – the above-mentioned Martin Stansbury, a longtime collaborator and former bandmate of Zoë’s who produced and engineered the Mama album, then became Sarah’s manager and sound engineer, accompanying her on all her tours worldwide since 2009.

Americana UK spoke to Sarah at the end of last year about her career retrospective concert recording “The St Buryan Sessions” which you can read here.

Sarah McQuaid UK shows 2023:

Aug 25 – Porthcurno: The Minack Theatre
Aug 27 – Wadebridge: Cornwall Folk Festival
Nov 2 – Morvah: Chypraze Farm
Nov 3 – Teignmouth: Pavilions Teignmouth
Nov 4 – Barnstaple: ThePlough@StAnne’s
Nov 5 – Brecon: Theatr Brycheiniog Studio
Nov 8 – Topsham: The Bridge Inn
Nov 9 – Great Budworth Parish Hall
Nov 10 – Ipswich: St Peter’s by the Waterfront
Nov 11 – Buxton: The Green Man Gallery
Nov 12 – Gawsworth Village Hall
Nov 15 – Backford (Chester): The Five Villages Hall
Nov 16 – Salford: Sacred Trinity Church (Red Balloon Music Presents)
Nov 17 – Thirsk: St Mary’s Church
Nov 18 – Cockermouth: The Kirkgate Centre
Nov 19 – Brigsteer Village Hall
Nov 22 – Great Easton: Venue TBC
Nov 23 – Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
Nov 24 – Bordon: Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre
Nov 25 – Bemerton (Salisbury): St John’s Place
Nov 26 – Box: Schtumm Extra @ The Queens Head
Nov 28 – Swindon Arts Centre
Nov 29 – Kenilworth: The Tree House Bookshop
Dec 1 – Upton Cross (Liskeard): Sterts Studio
Dec 2 – Truro: Burrell Theatre

About Mark Whitfield 2031 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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