HOUSE OF LIGHT
LIGHTHOUSE NEWSLETTER EDITION 15 01202 280000 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
LIGHTHOUSE SUPPORTS EXCEPTIONAL TALENT DEVELOPMENT One of the principal ideas that drove last year’s refurbishment was to enable Lighthouse to deliver on its vision to be a venue capable of leading arts provision in the southwest with 20 per cent of our arts programme made here. And we’ve hit the ground running – the strategy has already led to new commissions creating exciting studio scale work of quality, diversity and uniqueness. Talent development is integral to our leadership role and we feel a responsibility to champion artists whose work we admire and want to nurture. Currently within our development programme are established theatre companies including Gecko, Wet Picnic, Angel Exit, Dante Or Die and Lighthouse Presents as well as contemporary circus artists like Joli Vyann and The Gandinis. Emerging companies from the region like Sisata and Doppelgänger are developing work with us and we are supporting Sweetshop Revolution and Michele O’Brien, as well as a number of individual practitioners, writers and artists. The investment made in the refurbished Sherling Studio has given us a beautiful, flexible space in which to develop and present vital and non-mainstream work driven by a collaborative creation process as we strive to articulate our artistic existence more clearly, serve our local audiences more dynamically and give artists, who power our Lighthouse, a creative home. This year we are widening the programme further and will be working with the re-founded Mac’s Arcadian theatre company to develop work with deaf and hearing artists, schoolchildren and our audiences; Ardent Theatre, with whom we are exploring the diversity of contemporary Britain, and commissioning and developing work by some really exciting writers. We have also committed to working with Diverse City to develop Lighthouse as the home for the Extraordinary Bodies Young Company, which we helped launch with a successful residency programme in 2014. The company provides an important development opportunity for young disabled people to explore their talent and skills in circus, dance and theatre, and several previous participants have taken up professional learning opportunities in circus and theatre. This company is performing nationally and internationally. We are continuing to seek new partners to support our 80/20 strategy as well as working closely with established partners
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including Circus Evolution, Black Theatre Live, Regional Touring Theatre, Activate, Pavilion Dance South West and Soundstorm. Beyond this we have also created seven associate school relationships to deepen and broaden our formal and informal learning and education offer in our community. Thanks to the incredible support of our funders Lighthouse has been able to create a series of amazing spaces, now it is up to us to repay that belief by enabling even more amazing things to take place within those spaces.
Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive, Lighthouse
YOUNG ARTS RUN FREE Building on the success of last year’s Young Programmers strain, the recent Young Producers project enabled a highly committed and creative group of young people to put on a micro-festival at Lighthouse. The Level-Up event was programmed around the question: What did you want to be when you grew up? And took over the Sherling Studio, the Cinema and foyer space on 1 April. A festival for 14- to 19-year-olds made by 14- to 19-year olds, Level-Up opened with a screening of Tom Hanks’ 1988 film Big and continued with Cyber Jam Gaming, a live gaming event with retro consoles, and an alternative photobooth, as well as live music from talented 15-year-old singer songwriter Calvin Glen and others. Young artist Keven Scully was commissioned to create a live mural over the course of the day. Adopting the collective name EPIC (Extraordinary Producers Independently Creating), group member Hannah explained: “We’re a group of six young producers presenting a journey back to the very difficult decision every child must make, what do you want to be when you grow up? The micro festival packs old school gaming, movies, music and much more into a fun-filled day of early childhood nostalgia, experiencing the weird and wonderful feeling of stepping back through time to everything that seems now so far away...”
Lorna Rees, artistic director of Gobbledegook theatre, worked with the group, facilitating ideas and offering advice when asked. “They wanted to create something quite beautiful and it has been an amazing experience to see these lovely people explore their nostalgia for a time when life was perhaps more certain for them,” she said. “Ahead of them things look complicated, but there’s also optimism and a willingness to grapple with this stuff. I feel incredibly lucky to be seeing this. “Lighthouse has been amazing offering staff time and expertise. Young Producers was very creative, almost a new formulation of what being a producer is, and the group learned masses from gaining practical insights and acquiring a range of highly transferable skills they’ll be able to apply in whatever they do in the future.” 1 April, 2 – 7pm LEVEL-UP: WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP SHERLING STUDIO, THE CINEMA AND FOYER SPACE
THE WAY WE USED TO BE The nature of what goes on at Lighthouse is that everyone is always looking forwards – whether it’s simply to tonight’s show, or drawing up plans for the next theatre season. It’s rare to have cause (or time!) to stop and think about the past. So to receive what amounts to a ready-made archive was not only a lovely surprise, but a precious chance to reflect on almost 40 years of incredible entertainment and memorymaking. Tony Burns was our stage door keeper for many years from the opening of Poole Arts Centre in 1978 and in that time he compiled an incredible collection of programmes, playbills, brochures, articles, adverts and other memorabilia relating to shows and events here. Sadly Tony passed away last year and his family have kindly donated his collection to us in the hope it will spark local interest and unlock some amazing memories. There are for too many great shows to list each one, but just flicking through the scrapbooks reveals some of the major stars that have graced our theatres, concert hall and galleries – Michael Jackson, Segovia, U2, Henry Moore, Sir Peter Blake, Bruce Forsyth, The Smiths, Culture Club, Dame Elizabeth Frink, Anthony Newley, Kathy Burke and Antony Sher. Tony was particularly proud of having met Michael Jackson. When The Jacksons played the old Wessex Hall in 1979 he asked the King of Pop to sign the visitors’ book he kept on stage door. “We could have filled the place three times over,” Tony told the Daily Echo in 2009, remembering Michael had asked to use Tony’s cubby hole to make a transatlantic phone call. “(He was) polite and friendly. We shared a cup of coffee and a chat. He was good-looking, about five foot nine, a little shy but very nice with it.” During Tony’s time at the Arts Centre he befriended many actors, musicians and performing artists and was proud to look after them and make their stays in Poole a little more comfortable, often asking them to his flat for tea. He retired in the 1980s but many actors came to think of his flat off Lagland Street as their Green Room as, of course, until this season there wasn’t one at the theatre. So much has changed since Tony’s day, but we hope we’re still living up to the standards he set all those years ago.
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WHY I LOVE LIGHTHOUSE… Lucy Pearce, Stage Door Receptionist I’ve been around Lighthouse for a while having not long completed a two year apprenticeship as a technician. I loved doing that and learned a lot being involved with the shows while they’re going on, but as a technician you don’t have much to do with the public and that’s the reason why, if anything, I like the stage door receptionist job even more.
I’m the first person people see when they arrive at Lighthouse, so it’s up to me to welcome them and be helpful. When artists arrive they need to know where things are so they can settle in and we get to see performers of all kinds – from musicians and actors to dancers and circus performers. It amazes me how nervous some of them get, even those that have been in the profession for years. I was always involved in productions when I was at school and it’s really important that an arts centre as big as Lighthouse has opportunities to encourage young people – I was fortunate enough to do a bit of teaching on the Young Technicians course last year. I have a real passion for the arts and I’ve got a little home studio set up so I write and record my own music, but I haven’t taken the big step into performing yet – it’ll come but just not yet!
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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT… Mike Jeffries has chaired some of the UK’s bestknown private and listed companies including Wembley National Stadium Ltd, NCP, the Priory Group and the VT (Vosper Thornycraft) Group, but the new chairman of Poole Arts Trust, the charity responsible for running Lighthouse, is relishing a new challenge. “I’ve only been in the job a few months so it’s early days yet and I’m still learning about Lighthouse as a business,” he says. “In many ways it’s far more intricate than I imagined and it takes some understanding. “Lighthouse is the largest venue of its kind outside of London and its business model is quite fragile in that it relies heavily on Arts Council grants and the local authority. While we have to understand the objectives of our funders and act accordingly I would like to see more financial resilience so that we build up a bit of strength in the books.”
“We’ve just spent £5 million on a refurbishment and that has made a real difference – now people can see into the building and see what’s going on. We have a lovely café downstairs and I’d like to see that become a destination for users of the Dolphin Centre, so if they come for a cup of coffee they might take a look at an exhibition and see what else is going on.” In these straitened times nothing can be taken for granted where arts funding is concerned, but while Mike is keen to bring his experience to bear, he’s in no hurry. “Whenever I’ve gone into a company I believe I have added value to it; it’s just that when I’ve gone into that company I haven’t always known what that value is. Coming to something completely fresh can be an advantage, but you have to look, listen and learn and that’s the stage I’m at with Lighthouse – I’ve never been afraid of asking silly questions and if I don’t know I will ask them.”
Mike, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a governor of Canford School, lives in Poole with his wife Pam and is an accomplished watercolour artist and pianist. “I support the idea that we must bring the arts to all ages and all sectors of society, but we must also balance the books and it’s a pretty tight rope. Getting more people to come to shows would make a massive difference to our revenues.
‘Mike’s broad professional experience, his passion for music and the visual arts, as well as his love of Poole and the surrounding area – not to mention his wit – are a perfect fit to take Lighthouse forwards. In the last few years we have gone through stages of surviving then thriving, now we are ready to flourish and with Mike as chairman we can look forward to making a real difference to the local community and wider region.’ Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive
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ONLY CONNECT One of the many exciting things about Lighthouse is seeing people, young and old, experiencing the wonder of live performance that opens up emotions, challenges opinions and makes connections. It is especially exciting when it is young people, discovering this - perhaps for the first time. This was bought home to us recently by the comments of a year 10 student from St Aldhelm’s Academy, who had been to see the Lighthouse production of Archipelago: “It was a great performance and it made me feel a lot of mixed emotions, some feelings I have not felt before.” And from their drama teacher: “This is when it really works, when young people start making connections.” Lighthouse has been playing this role for many years and our vision is that we will be doing the same for many years to come - but we can’t do it without you. As a charity, we rely on the support of those who love Lighthouse to enable us to continue entertaining, challenging and enriching the lives of all those who come through our doors. We’d like to take this opportunity to say ”Thank you!” to all those who have given us such generous support along the way and to invite all of you to come and join us as we go forward into an exciting future. There are many ways you can give your support so if you’d like to know more please have a look at the website, or contact email@example.com. Thank you.
01202 280000 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
PLEASE GET INVOLVED 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into the Ticket Office.