A Year in Review 2019/20

Page 1

APRIL 2019 - MARCH 2020


POOLE ARTS TRUST LIMITED 01202 280000 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk

CONTENTS IN 2019/20…









Phoenix Dance Theatre's "The Rite of Spring" Photo by Tristram Kenton

2020/21 AND BEYOND

A YEAR IN REVIEW APRIL 2019 - MARCH 2020  |  3

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR Prior to the worldwide pandemic, 2019/20 was proving to be one of our strongest years in recent times. Our range of programme has gone from strength to strength and our occupancy levels have increased as audiences have responded. In December the UK left the EU – and despite all the dividing opinions and concerns, the world carried on, for a while at least. The last month of our financial year is always our strongest and as COVID 19 began to hit the UK in late February, it was soon apparent that our year end would be impacted. It is therefore fortuitous that the preceding 11 months provided not only a unique and vibrant arts programme, but also a strong commercial return as various initiatives began to show positive results. But in March, our world came to an abrupt stop with the immediate closure of all venues to reduce the spread of the virus. Unlike many other businesses who were able to carry on working remotely, with a total loss of ticket sales which accounts for over 80% of our revenue there was nothing we could do except mitigate our losses. Despite the enormous impact this has had and continues to have on the organisation, we completed the year with a small surplus, and delivered against all of our charitable and artistic objectives and timelines. As BCP council reach their first anniversary as a new unitary authority, we are grateful for their continued support. As the CEO notes, for the first time a new three year funding agreement is being put in place which really emphasises their support for culture at the heart of the region and once life has returned to normal will enable us to plan ahead with greater confidence. We are delighted to have received support from Arts Council England and DCMS via both the Emergency Response (ERF) and Cultural Recovery (CRF) Funds and look forward to the time when Lighthouse can once again fully deliver its wide range of activities. I am grateful to all the staff who have played their part to achieve this. I am extremely grateful to my fellow trustees who give their time and expertise to Lighthouse within not only the main board, but the individual committees that they all take a role in. Jane Webster, Ali Gannage Stewart, Monica Barnes and Kate McStraw were welcomed on to the board, and we said a sad farewell to both Amanda Stainer and Sally Crawford who retired as trustee. We thank them both for their expertise, counsel, wise advice and outstanding support.

Mike Jeffries, Chairman 4 | A YEAR IN REVIEW APRIL 2019 - MARCH 2020


Mike Jeffries, Chairman Sally Crawford, Mark Powell, Deputy Chair Spencer Clarke, Deputy Chair Rowena Gaston Richard Hendry (appointed October 2018) Prof. Donald Nordberg (appointed October 2018) Nicky Oliver Amanda Stainer Jane Webster (appointed March 2019) Monika Barnes Alison Gannage-Steward Kate McStraw (Observer)

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO As one of the largest regional arts centres in the UK, Lighthouse is proud to play a hugely important role in providing cultural opportunities for engagement with the live and digital arts for our local community and supporting the social health and wellbeing strategy for the region. In previous years we have had many issues to contend with and respond to, and this year all was going swimmingly, with no dramas off the stages, a stable team, a great visiting programme of work, increased ticket sales, terrific projects with fabulous artists and arts organisations. However, that changed overnight on the 17th March when Lighthouse closed due to the restrictions imposed by government to contain the global COVID 19 pandemic. In the 11 months prior to closure, Lighthouse enjoyed an exciting and positive year delivering a wide programme of arts and community engagement. This report provides an overview of the work that we have undertaken, the artists we have presented, encouraged, mentored and the audiences they have delighted. We presented an extensive arts programme of both subsidised and commercial activity, education and outreach projects working collaboratively with many partners to deliver our full programme. This year our business plan was focused on improving our financial position by creating a surplus to support the loss seen the year before. Indeed, we were well on track to achieve a surplus 66% ahead of budget. This improved position has helped to sustain us during the difficult weeks of spring where all earned income came to a halt. The public funding provided by our local authority BCP council and Arts Council England provides 16% of our income and helps us to maintain such a large cultural building as well as supporting the artistic work we deliver. In February, BCP council approved a three-year funding agreement 2020-23 which will help with our financial stability. Due to the pandemic, Arts Council England extended our NPO funding for a further year. We sincerely thank them both for their continued support, confidence and financial investment. Our creative engagement work is also supported by Trusts, Foundations and individuals who we thank for their generosity.

As always, we are indebted to our incredible team of staff, volunteers and trustees, as well as the support of our audiences and building users and the amazing talent of our artists that enables us to flourish. Everyone who works at Lighthouse, whether as a member of staff or a volunteer plays a vital part and we are hugely grateful to them all for their expertise and hard work, their commitment and their support without which none of our work would happen. I am particularly grateful to my fabulous senior management team who in the last few months of the covid pandemic have ensured that we have taken the right path and supported me with their humour, love, resilience and sheer hard graft.

Partnership with our resident orchestra, BSO, this year delivered many concert initiatives, including a family Christmas concert, informal cake concerts for older people with dementia, school concerts, Rusty Musicians concert and the annual Musicians Benevolent concert. Lighthouse also supports the BSO rehearsal programme and the delivery of a significant season of 30 symphonic concerts.

Elspeth McBain, CEO

We have enabled the resident Orchestra BSO to be able to continue working, ensured our regular courses and classes have continued, both online and in person, and offered a programme of live and streamed performances. We have supported independent artists and creatives to work and produced a brand-new Christmas show - 'Happy Ever After' with Chris Jarvis and James Smith. We anticipate that 2021 will continue to be tough but we are ready for it!

A YEAR IN REVIEW APRIL 2019 - MARCH 2020  |  5

A DIVERSE, VIBRANT PROGRAMME The arts are a vital part of living well and we are proud to play our part in bringing opportunities for our community to enjoy entertainment and participate in the arts as well as providing work opportunities in the creative arts sector. The variety and diversity of our programme enriches local cultural life while building community interaction, economic prosperity and the national and international profile of Poole, Dorset, and the wider region.

Acrobatique De Tangier’s circus show ‘Halka’ astounded audiences as part of a tour supported by the Shubbak Festival of contemporary Arab culture.

Our 2019/20 highlights included the wonderful Ian McKellen with his 80th year celebratory On Stage With Tolkein, Shakespeare, Others and You. McKellen was a tour de force with a memorable performance that will stay with us and with audiences forever.

The summer was programmed with many community organisations renting our spaces including several regular events such as TEACH Trust, Strictly Theatre School, Wessex Youth Orchestra and A Night to Celebrate Israel.

KD Lang presented the most extraordinary concert with strong production values and an outstanding performance.

Other notable highlights included English Touring Opera, Mugyenko Drummers, The Watermill Theatre with a double bill of Shakespeare, James Wilton Dance, Adam Kay, Armonico Consort and much more.

Jack and the Beanstalk, co-produced with Duncan Reeves Productions, was a resounding success. We were proud to co-create an original show with an exceptional cast and a positive audience response.

The Sherling Studio is becoming synonymous with the creation of work and this year we launched a new lunchtime series partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire. We are also championing a bespoke programme of music through our Studio Jazz programme, through Live and Unheard and through supporting local music acts such as Olly Ollsen and NineBarrow. Lighthouse has always had a strong track record for dance and we were delighted to partner with Pavilion Dance South West on the Surf the Wave Festival; an international dance showcase.

We hosted the return of Roundabout, Paines Plough’s unique pop-up theatre, as part of the Arts by the Sea Festival, not only offering three premieres of new writing but also valuable workshop experience to our over-subscribed Young Writers courses, stage time for partner artists like Black Cherry, Coastal Comedy (our monthly stand-up comedy club) and Live and Unheard (the home-grown showcase for unsigned local music talent). A strong programme of big-names sold out including Harry Rednapp and comedians Rhod Gilbert, Ben Elton and Jimmy Carr. Russell Howard performed 2 try-out gigs prior to a worldwide tour.


Acrobatique De Tangier’s ‘Halka’

IN 2019/20…


FUNDRAISING AND DEVELOPMENT Public funding from BCP Council and from Arts Council England is essential as it enables us to present a diverse and eclectic arts and creative engagement programme alongside a more commercial offer. However, this accounts for only 18% of our annual income, meaning that our fundraising efforts are more important than ever as we continue to grow our value to our community. This was the first full year since we recruited our Fundraising Manager, Tom Shallaker, and during this time we have explored the benefits of our work and developed our charitable messaging. This year we exceeded our fundraising target and raised £94,040.55 through donations, events, grants and corporate sponsorship. The Big Christmas Appeal raised £24,854.14 – more than double the amount we set out to achieve. We were helped by the generosity of local philanthropist Lyn Glass who match funded donations up to a maximum of £5,000. We also received a significant donation from Mike Jeffries, chairman of Poole Arts Trust and from a number of other private donors. The Appeal money enabled around 200 children from schools across Dorset to attend Roundabout. We gave free tickets to groups from Winchelsea Community Special School and paid for tickets for participants in our Young Writers programme – many of whom are from deprived backgrounds or have autism or diagnosed anxiety. The fund also allowed us to give tickets to a wide variety of community groups including charities who work with young carers and other groups within our society that have experienced disadvantage. We also subsidised a large portion of ticket costs including our Dementia Friendly screenings – this ensured that the screenings remained accessible to people with dementia and their carers.

Lighthouse Friends launched in November and had a rapidly growing membership who are already making a vital difference in helping create opportunities for everyone to participate in the arts. By the end of the financial year, within its first 5 months of existence, the scheme had 148 members, generating income of £6,240. Getting in and out of Lighthouse is now much easier for wheelchair users. Thanks to generous funding from the Theatres Trust a new entrance with automatic swing doors was installed in 2019. Following the £4,000 Theatres Trust grant, a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous approached Lighthouse to discuss further vital access work and donated £12,000 to support this. We are grateful to all our funders and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us. Gifts of any size make a difference to our ability to have a positive impact in our region. It is thanks to these donations that we can continue to enrich the lives of our community through shared cultural experiences.

“When I played here forty years ago it was only a few weeks old. I played Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night with my great friend Edward Petherbridge as Orsino. As we left the stage I called out above the din: ‘We’ll be back’ and he looked at me and said: ‘Liar!’ Well, it may have taken forty years, but I shall have to call Edward to tell him I made it back to Poole!” SIR IAN MCKELLEN

In July we welcomed Sir Ian McKellen to Lighthouse for a very special evening as he celebrated his 80th birthday by touring the country and raising money with his one-man show. The show raised funds to support Bright Sparks, our creative learning programme that enables young people from our community to gain experience and develop their skills so that they can have a career in the arts.


Sir Ian McKellen

IN 2019/20…


BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Ensuring that we have long-term relationships with and deliver consistently remarkable experiences to our customers is vital. Understanding our audience is key and our work with Baker Richards had started to help us build a stronger foundation just as we closed in March. During this year 37,040 people bought 201,763 tickets. In addition, around 100,000 people attended a conference, visited our gallery or grabbed a drink or meal in our café and bars. With such a broad range of events, genres, scale and spaces our continuing challenge is to maintain our existing audiences, who are strong, loyal repeat attenders, whilst both finding new audiences and encouraging them to stay with us. Over 80,000 season brochures were distributed throughout Dorset. We had 5.57 million page views of our website with 630,802 unique users. We stay in touch with over 32,000 people who are signed up to our e-list and across our social media channels we had over 30,000 active followers. Our role as a cultural leader extends far beyond the confines of our iconic building. This year a range of regional arts organisations have benefitted from the skills and expertise of our team to help deliver audiences for arts projects in the wider community. In partnership with Audacious, more than 52,000 people visited Light Up Poole; three nights of digital light art in Poole Town Centre. We also contributed to Dorset Moon which included Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon (Activate Performing Arts, B-side, Bournemouth Arts By the Sea and Arts Development Company) attracting 14,000 people. A new relationship with SENsational who work with young people with special educational needs or disabilities saw them bring a group of 220 young people, staff and carers to the relaxed performance of Jack and the Beanstalk with tickets paid for with money raised by the Big Christmas Appeal.


“…we’re really grateful to Lighthouse for making it possible to bring so many young people, as well as our staff and volunteers. Lighthouse is our go-to theatre for activities like this because the lay out of the building works well, the seats are comfortable, and the management and staff are very open to feedback.” BEV CLARKE, A YOUTH WORKER FOR BCP

The Big Sing, now in its eleventh year, was once again, hugely successful with around 700 participants taking part. Our audiences come primarily from the BH postcode area and equate to a 23% household penetration rate. Filling all available capacity would require 50% of the adult population within a 45-minute drive time to attend at least once a year. In 2019/20, nearly a quarter of all our visitors benefitted from subsidised or discounted tickets. The challenge ahead is to improve this our reach in our local catchment.


Roundabout, Paines Plough’s unique pop-up theatre

IN 2019/20…


CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT This year, Lighthouse launched a new Creative Engagement strategy; one that builds on our existing work with the local community and reaches out to new audiences, artists and participants in bold, dynamic and exciting ways.

Young Writers, a scheme for 11-18 year olds with a flair for creative writing, was hugely popular with waiting lists to join. Lighthouse is proud of Evie Wright, who has been a regular at our Young Writers groups since their launch in 2018, and this year won a BBC commission for her audio piece Anchor. 17-year-old Evie was one of five Lighthouse Young Writers who were shortlisted for BBC New Creatives

Every week our spaces are filled by groups as diverse as Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists and associate artists like Angel Exit Theatre working on their latest production, not to mention the acting schools that are based here.

We also offer our young people the chance to earn their Bronze Arts Award as well as access to Lighthouse shows, workshops with industry leaders and other opportunities.

Our Artist Development programme is nurturing the best and brightest local talent, offering support, space and time to flourish. We have been working with a diverse mix of artists from a huge range of backgrounds, from singer songwriters, visual artists and lighting designers to improvisational theatre developers, and integrated circus companies. All these artists are producing (or are on their way to producing) ground-breaking work in local, national and international arts arena. Creative hands-on training has energised the career prospects for the stage crew of tomorrow thanks to our Bright Sparks initiative ensuring the seeds of future careers are planted at Lighthouse. Young Technicians is an innovative course eager to get to grips with lighting, sound and stage management in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. The third year of our project saw us working with 16 young people aged 16 – 24, our largest cohort yet.

“It’s about workforce development… Lighthouse has always found it difficult to find and recruit technicians from the area so given that we have highly skilled and creative technicians of our own and connections with some of the top freelancers and private companies in the field we set out to train our own from an early age. There are few if any courses like this available in this country. The students get lots of handson experience and crucially it’s real world training in a working multi-venue arts facility”

We continue our work with schools in the community and are in the third year of our Partner School Scheme, with ten schools signed up this year. These schools receive backstage tours, careers talks, workshops and much more. We support local school careers days and fifty students from Bournemouth and Poole College attended a Lighthouse careers event, meeting a range of staff throughout the day. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was a musical highlight and our education partner Soundstorm elevated their visit by engaging the orchestra to provide a school’s concert earlier in the day. 1400 children accessed free tickets.




Black Cherry Theatre

IN 2019/20…


A RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE ORGANISATION 2019/20 was the year we invested in Lighthouse to improve our future resilience. This investment was starting to pay off and we were on track to achieve a 66% surplus when the world changed. However, this improvement helped to sustain us during the first few difficult weeks of spring when our earned income came to a halt. We are always having to adapt to the decisions and changes, both local and national, that impact the investment received to support our work. These changes also impact the creative people who make and present their work at Lighthouse as well as the local community performers who rely on access to our venues to develop creative talents. By taking positive action this year and continuing to plan ahead we went into 20/21 from a position of strength. Our investment in a pricing and demand consultancy, Baker Richards resulting in an improvement in ticket sales, the appointment of the new dedicated Head of Programming and the diligent work of the Beacon team, have all contributed. We believe there is more to come. We believe there is still available demand across each auditoria, there is a wider supporter base yet to be engaged and there are efficiencies; doing more with existing investment, as yet untapped.

Lighthouse is a large building and we have committed to reducing our energy and carbon outputs. We have made practical improvements in reducing our carbon footprint and our building continues to surpass benchmark expectations for our industry sector in terms of its energy efficiency. Our Pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, had a strong environmental message at its heart from the content and message to working with local companies and actively reducing its carbon footprint. We have continued to phase out single use plastics replacing them with wooden or paper alternatives and increasing our use of polycarbonate, multi-use plastics. This is particularly the case in the Beacon. We also continued to phase out non-LED lighting units as they become redundant. These are then replaced, where possible, with movement sensors to minimise wastage.


The cultural strategy for the region continues to evolve with the merger of local authorities to make up BCP Council. Our CEO has played a central role ensuring arts and culture in Poole remains at the heart of the new council’s objectives. To this end, Lighthouse and BSO proposed a joint working programme with the local authorities and Arts Council which was sponsored by ACE as the Cultural Enquiry.


Peter Duncan and Connor Byrne in Jack and The Beanstalk

IN 2019/20…




Representing 39% of our total income – each year we earn or raise the rest to be able to cover the costs of doing what we need to do.



One sixth of our regular income is provided through public funding from the local authority and Arts Council England.



Fundraising income has doubled since last year achieving 2% of total income.



We have built this by just under 10% this year - almost double normal inflation.



It cost over £427,866 more to achieve all this than last year; about 10% more. We have invested heavily this year to make sure we keep pace with ever-growing costs, lack of growth in grant income and the need to build reserves.


THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS Lighthouse forges partnerships with a range of cultural organisations and artists to realise their artistic projects. Our most quantifiable partnership is the one we enjoy with our community. In attracting audiences, productions and businesses to Poole, Lighthouse drives economic activity worth millions of pounds, promoting the town and its facilities, attracting investment and enhancing the region’s reputation as a beautiful place in which to live and work and visit. PARTNERSHIPS


We work with many partners and are grateful to them for ensuring that we deliver a strong arts and culture in our region. Arts Development Company Arts Marketing Association British Association of Concert Halls Circus Evolution Dance Along the South Coast Dance Touring Partnership


Dorset Theatre Promoters Consortium

Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy

Music Beyond Mainstream

Arts University Bournemouth

Regional Touring Network

Angel Exit Arts Council England Arts Development Company Arts by the Sea Festival Bournemouth and Poole College Bournemouth Tourism Bournemouth Symphony Chorus Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Crying Out Loud Dorset School of Acting Dante Or Die Diverse City Doppelganger Duncan Reeves Productions Extraordinary Bodies Young Artist The Gandinis Inside Out Festival Local Enterprise Partnership The Mayflower Theatre Paines Plough Pavilion Dance South West The Point, Eastleigh Poole Tourism The Powerhouse Serious


We would like to thank all of the trusts, foundations, companies and individuals who have supported Lighthouse with donation and gifts. The Aurelius Trust Archives Revealed The Theatres Trust Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Trethowans Solicitors Nuffield Health Lyn Glass Mike and Pam Jeffries Ralph and Janet Marshall Anonymous donors COMMERCIAL PARTNERS

We have attracted two new large events: Boo Ball charity’s first large fundraising dinner for 250 and the Dorset Ethnic Minority Awards attended by 200, celebrating different cultures and ethnic communities in Dorset. Open University Graduation, Women’s Institute AGM, Diverse Abilities Gala Ball and Julia’s House were all repeat bookers. Lighthouse has also seen a number of new Community and Arts hires over this period such as Top Dog Film Festival, John Finnemore’s Flying Visit and BMT Productions with their show “And Now for Something Completely Different”.

Soundstorm Stagewise Wave

A YEAR IN REVIEW APRIL 2019 - MARCH 2020  |  17

2020/21 AND BEYOND Up until the closure brought on by the coronavirus pandemic our key initiatives and projects were focussed on sustainability and growth. The overwhelming challenge for 2020-21 will simply be to survive so that when we come to review future years, we will be celebrating successful activity in our artistic, charitable and community endeavours.

Looking the future our priorities are: • Growing our fundraising to support our learning and participation programmes for the benefit of future generations of practitioners and audiences. • Developing additional revenue streams to support the core delivery of the organisation. This will include a significant shift in our pricing policy after investment this year. • Reviewing our audience access and developing a new scheme for patrons requiring additional support to improve the customer experience from first point of contact. • A return to an organisation-wide efficiency programme to help unlock development in other areas of the organisation. • Achieving the greatest possible reach enabled by new investment in digital technology, specifically our plans to film and stream events from Lighthouse. • Building our cash reserves to further mitigate business risks and support our charitable objectives. • Develop an organisation-wide approach to customer engagement, including the role of brand and content to engage diverse communities build awareness of our philanthropic case for support • Maintaining the building and improving fabric, access and facilities.

"Lighthouse is able to make high-quality work accessible to Poole and the surrounding areas that would otherwise be beyond the reach of most visitors in terms of both its cost and geographical location" ELSPETH MCBAIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE


A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Watermill Theatre Sophie Stone and Tyrone Huntley Photo by Scott Rylander_34

01202 280000 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk

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