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WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU Lighthouse is a place where incredible things happen and memories are made that will last a lifetime. At long last, after a lot of hard work and the unstinting support of our audiences, donors and supporters, Lighthouse is perfectly placed to live up to its billing as the leading cultural provider in the southwest. It is our very great privilege to be able to make and present shows and events that entertain, stimulate and inspire the community that supports us so faithfully and with our first full season since the refurbishment already well underway your support is more vital than ever before. As a registered charity, we depend heavily on the individuals, companies and trusts who choose to help us. Their generosity enables us to provide life-enhancing opportunities for people to enjoy and participate in the arts, both at Lighthouse and out in the community. How would you like to join them? Your donation – large or small – can be earmarked for a particular area of work (for instance, it can help us create opportunities for local children to learn, rehearse and perform in a state-of-the-art professional venue), or it can be made available to use where the need is greatest. However you chose to do it, by making a donation you can play an important part in ensuring that Lighthouse remains a worldclass arts venue right here in Poole. To find out more please contact: Eifron Hopper on 01202 781327 or email or pop into the Ticket Office.

PLEASE GET INVOLVED By making a donation you can play an important part in ensuring Lighthouse remains a world class venue right here in Poole. ONLINE



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Now that 2017 is here and the last of the panto glitter has been swept up, I’ve been reflecting on what has been a momentous episode in the history of this incredible building.

With the transformation of the Sherling Studio, Lighthouse is showing other arts organisations how it should be done. That was the message from Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, at its opening night as he joined an invited audience for the world premiere of Caridad Svich’s wonderful new play Archipelago.

After all the months of careful planning, concerted fundraising and meticulous execution we finally got our building back on time, in budget and in far better shape than we ever dared dream would be possible.

Paying tribute to the artistic vision of Lighthouse and the enlightened support of its funders, including noted arts philanthropists Clive and Sally Sherling, after whom the studio is named, he said the studio presents an amazing opportunity for the region’s artists, especially young people.

And it wasn’t long before it was being put though its paces most thoroughly. No sooner had we opened the transformed Sherling Studio – a beautiful new venue that we can all be immensely proud of – on the Friday than we were hosting a dinner and auction for Diverse Abilities in the Concert Hall that raised a record £100,000 the next night, despite the new kitchen not being completely ready. Just a few hours later we delivered A House of Light, our amazing open house Sunday that saw hundreds of people come and enjoy our building and sample the artistic work we create here. Then on the Monday we hosted a major conference for the Borough of Poole.

“Bingo halls are closing, church youth clubs don’t really exist anymore, youth theatres all over the country are being shut down because of local government cuts so anything anywhere that is in place for young people to congregate is crucial – particularly when they’ve got something like the shared endeavour of putting theatre on. It is extraordinarily disciplined and focussed and an amazing example of teamwork. “They only need to get wind of the fact there’s a studio here and before you know it you’ll have people saying: ‘Can we have a bit of time for X, Y and Z?’ Rooms like this are places of risk, of the imagination, they can be a kitchen of failure then, just occasionally, it’s a greenhouse of fantastic art.”

By which time of course we were up to our necks in panto rehearsals and preparations for the opening of Snow Play in the Sherling Studio. It has been a hectic, exhausting and incredibly exciting time that has seen the ingeniously talented team at Lighthouse outshine even its own sky-high standards. Everyone has more than played their part and none of what has just happened would have been possible without their efforts. Lighthouse is the leading cultural venue in the southwest and now that our building is genuinely fit for the future, it is up to us to show we deserve the trust placed in us by our funders, benefactors and, especially, our audiences. I can’t wait.

“The building of this studio and the commitment to it that the key funders and the organisation have given to it being a place where new work can be made is a model and it would be fantastic to see it rolled out across the country,” Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre

Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive, Lighthouse


The possibilities presented by the Sherling Studio reminded Rufus of taking his first steps in a career that has seen him train at RADA, win a clutch of Evening Standard, Critic’s Circle and Olivier Awards, direct at the National, Young Vic and Barbican and make three feature films. “We had a little tiny studio at the Swan Theatre in Worcester, which was a much smaller theatre than Lighthouse, but there was a room that we could use for youth theatre and we did our own little shows. In the evenings I’d do follow spot in a local rep show, I painted a theatre, I did backstage, lighting and sound, I was working on the flies aged 16, I got involved in everything. “What’s great about this place is that it will be fascinating to see what comes out of it. If local artists can’t make work in their local theatres then there’s an inevitable and inexorable brain drain that just keeps on going as people move away.”


SOMETHING SPECIAL THIS WAY COMES Having opened so strongly with the premiere of Caridad Svich’s beautifully realised Archipelago and the brilliant interactive spectacle of Snow Play there’s genuine excitement about the possibilities being opened up by the new Sherling Studio. “I’m put in mind of the story of War Horse, which started life in a studio space in Battersea Arts Centre. Now, I’m not saying Archipelago is another War Horse but nobody had any idea at the start that War House was going to be the huge hit that it was,” said Lighthouse artistic producer Stephen Wrentmore. Although written in New York, the production of Archipelago was commissioned by Lighthouse and made in Poole. “Outside of the Christmas shows we commission, this is not something Lighthouse has really done before,” said Stephen. “There are experiences in the theatre that are about pure entertainment and I love them – they’re like sugar you anticipate them, you have them and they’re wonderful, then you go home and carry on. Then there are those experiences that stay with you that make you think, ask questions of yourself and ultimately make you change the way you see things. “Those stories have to start somewhere and as we progress we want to tell stories that come from our community. The safe thing would be to not do it at all, but rather than try to second guess what is going to be popular we must tell new stories boldly and make the stories we want to tell.” Far from simply improving the studio theatre facilities at Lighthouse, the opening of the Sherling Studio adds impetus to the ambition of discovering, nurturing and launching new creative talent from the Poole area.

OBIE award-winning playwright Caridad Svich was not surprised her elegant love story, Archipelago, received its world premiere in Poole – and not only because Stephen Wrentmore had charted its development for four years. “One never knows quite where the work will first land,” she said on a flying visit to Lighthouse to see the premiere. “Although I wrote the play in the US, I fully recognise that for a variety of reasons the piece may perhaps find more theatrical affinity abroad in terms of its form, shape, structure and heightened linguistic modality – part fragmented/broken in its echoes of speech and part interior and poetic and full. “In some ways I am not surprised that the play has found its first home in the UK. It had a concert reading about a year ago in Uzbekistan in Russian translation so it already had a trip abroad, as it were, albeit in concert reading format.” Caridad’s work has also been seen in the Royal Court, Hackney Empire and at Edinburgh, but she was thrilled to see Archipelago takes its bow at Lighthouse under Stephen’s direction. “He has carried it with him across borders, we have spoken of it a lot and I think he also has a very particular insight into the play and how it functions as a piece of total theatre. I am grateful that our dialogue over the years has led to Poole, and again, hope it continues. “Here we are near the sea in a play that is about, partly, the movement of two people as if small islands amidst water. I think this initial perspective is useful for a first outing as much as it is for the piece to also be seen, I hope, in centres of economic power like London and New York.”

“Most of the theatre that comes to Lighthouse is gone within a week so with Archipelago we wanted to make something that would stay a little longer to allow word-of-mouth to play its part and give people the opportunity to respond and come along,” said Stephen. “Most of the artists involved were there out of love and curiosity so we were able to keep the budget very low, which meant tickets could be cheaper to encourage more people to take up the invitation to come and be part of it all. “We will continue to work with companies like Angel Exit to develop new pieces, but I also want this to be the place new writers come to develop their stories. Archipelago was a world premiere and it happened in Poole – in and of itself that is exciting, but it also set a bar.”



WHY I LOVE LIGHTHOUSE… Kirill Karabits, Chief Conductor, BSO I have been conducting regularly at Lighthouse, the home of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, since 2008 on many occasions, mainly rehearsals and evening performances. Lighthouse is a place for culture in Poole; it has very loyal local audiences, concert subscribers, some of whom have been attending the venue since it opened nearly 40 years ago. I’m very happy about the recent renovation, it has made the venue more friendly and comfortable for guest artists and musicians. I have a lot of personal memories from our everyday activities and music that we make happen there. It has been an exciting journey for me in terms of getting to know the regular concertgoers and understanding what they want from a concert evening and now they have so much confidence in the orchestra we can challenge them with any symphonic repertoire. I have also conducted a greater number of concerts here than anywhere else – now it does feel like home!

Shining example of what we do A magical day filled with unexpected delights that will become the magical memories of tomorrow, A House of Light not only showcased what goes on at Lighthouse it peeled back the curtain to offer a look at the building as it has never been seen before. Acting, juggling and musical performances, group art work, kathak dance, a ghost tour, strange snowballs, classical music for babies, a nativity quite unlike any other, winter storytelling, an awesome AV installation and wishes made to come true, it was a truly singular day in the history of our building. A chance to greet old friends and meet new ones, Peter Duncan warmed up for his role as Abanazar in Aladdin by cutting the ribbon that declared A House of Light open to the public, who passed through the building in various states of wonderment, puzzlement, amazement and astonishment – often all at the same time.

The future starts here Following the success of last year’s muchpraised Young Programmers scheme in which 40 young people gained valuable real-world experience at Lighthouse working with in-house and guest professionals in a range of disciplines, we are proud to announce a new intake. The Young Producers programme is aimed at local students aged 16 to 19 who want to gain hands-on experience in the creative industries with a view to improving their employment prospects and extending their learning. Over the next three months the participants will work in a range of specialisms alongside members of the team at Lighthouse as well as with guest programmers, producers and experts. The project culminates in the April Fools’ Festival – a mini festival organised and staged by the Young Producers on Saturday 1 April.

“this course should be run again, and I think it’s important that the knowledge involved in the technical side of theatre is carried over to the younger generations. It’s also a good way to make friends and learn new skills, and I’ve found that particularly in Dorset there aren’t a lot of social activities for teenagers in general, so it’s important to me that there are fun and educational ones that are also provided at a good price, like this one.” Participant



Profile for Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts

Lighthouse Newsletter: Edition 14  

The latest newsletter from Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts - the UK's largest regional arts centre.

Lighthouse Newsletter: Edition 14  

The latest newsletter from Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts - the UK's largest regional arts centre.