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What we did this summer What an incredible summer! It’s with great delight that I can report months of meticulous planning have paid off and the second phase of building work to improve Lighthouse is completed. Although, as with all building works there are challenges, the disruption was superbly managed by all concerned and the work carried out to schedule. The enhancement of our facilities was long overdue and as the dust settles we can see our building transformed and ready for the future. Following last year’s upgrade of sound and lighting in the Concert Hall and Theatre, this summer’s four-month programme of works has delivered a number of key changes including the transformation of the Studio theatre, the main entrance moved to a central position with clear glazing installed in the foyer, the creation of a new education and rehearsal space, a new stage door entrance, updated dressing rooms, a Green Room and improved security. The flat floor mechanism in the Concert Hall has been overhauled, new plumbing means we have drinking water on tap throughout the building and a number of other improvements to improve energy-efficiency will result in significant cost savings. We’re not quite there yet – the brand new and renamed Sherling Studio and the new Rehearsal Room on the first floor open in November – but we hope you like what we’ve done. This is an exciting moment in the history of Lighthouse and as we look forward to our 40th birthday in 2018 we know we’re in good shape and ready to create incredible cultural experiences that honour the vision of our founders. We’re delighted to welcome you back to a Lighthouse we can all be proud of. I hope you like it!

Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive, Lighthouse



Looking to the future A revolutionary new learning opportunity for young people, the pilot ‘Young Programmers’ scheme has been hailed as a great success and a valuable experience that has improved participants’ chances of working in the industry. A cornerstone of our Learning & Participation initiatives Young Programmers aims to develop the next generation of talented arts practitioners and help create a skilled, motivated and experienced workforce for arts organisations in the South West region, although there is enormous potential to replicate the scheme in other areas of the UK. The first intake completed a six-month pilot making use of the existing workforce at Lighthouse as well as outside agents to gain creative, hands-on learning experiences with courses run for Young Technicians, Writers, Critics and Music Programmers. A total of 40 young people aged 14 to 30 took part. “It was a unique and fulfilling experience that you don’t get in many other places,” said one Young Technician. Another added: “The best part was the freedom and opportunity to put what we had been learning into practice, it allowed us to test ourselves and to be involved in a creative show.”

Concert Hall preparing the final event, a live music concert programmed, promoted, equipped, staged and managed by the Young Programmers courses. The wider aim was to stimulate the participants’ interest in the arts, improve employment prospects, engage further with Lighthouse and develop their social skills and networks. After the final event the Young Technicians all said they were more interested in the arts, had learned new skills, made new friends, felt happier and would recommend Lighthouse to friends, with 90 per cent saying they were more interested in pursuing a career in the arts and agreeing the course had improved other areas of their education. “It is such a thrill for our learning team at Lighthouse to see young people so engaged and excited about working behind the scenes as well as our technicians having the opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge and experience,” says Libby Battaglia, Lighthouse Learning and Artist Development. “Our volunteers supporting the programme also said how much they learned, which shows us the depth of engagement and is immensely satisfying for us as one of the cultural leaders in the region.” * Young people, aged 16-30, are invited to register their interest in the next intake of Young Programmers by emailing learning@lighthousepoole.co.uk.

The Young Technicians programme was delivered in 18 two-hour weekly sessions followed by a 12-hour day in the



Sharing the vision A place where wonderful things are made, things that inspire us, that ask questions, that make our lives fuller and bring us closer together by celebrating our diversity and championing our commonality – newly appointed Artistic Producer Stephen Wrentmore has a crystal clear idea of our place in the wider community. “We have a vision that 20 per cent of the work seen at Lighthouse should be made, initiated or produced in-house, with and within our community,” he explains. “At our heart we must ask why we exist and for whom? The answers are complex and our audiences varied, but we feel there is a space that we must fulfil in order to support, nurture and celebrate the work that is and will be made in Poole and the wider Dorset area – that is where my work begins.” The modernisation of facilities at Lighthouse will enable us to explore new artistic possibilities and sends out a powerful message, says Stephen. “The abiding narrative in these straitened times is that arts organisations are on the back foot and holding on to the purse strings, so what is happening at Lighthouse is a bold step forward. With limited public funding we are spending money wisely and making sure that what goes on in the building is worthy of the money and effort being spent on it.” Having moved to Poole from the United States where he has worked since 2011, initially as Associate Artistic Director and Director of Learning at Arizona Theatre Company

and latterly as the visiting Professor of Theatre at Oklahoma City University, Stephen brings a wealth of international experience to Lighthouse. “I have a huge amount to learn here and, I hope, a lot to share,” he says. “The arts are more than a play or an event and we believe that as a cultural hub Lighthouse will be a space for sharing. “My experience is predominantly in theatre but our building offers so much more than this and part of our thinking will tie together narratives across the arts and learning experiences in all our spaces to create a coherent, if sometimes deliberately discordant, message so that Lighthouse will be everything it is today, and more.” :: In Stephen’s first production at Lighthouse he will direct Archipelago, a new play by the prolific playwright, songwriter, editor and translator Caridad Svich. It runs in the Sherling Studio from 24 November to 3 December.

Photo Special It’s Lighthouse, but not as we know it…! In order to make sure we’re here for many years to come we’ve had to strip our building back to the bare bones, in places exposing parts of it that have remained unseen for 40 years. This summer we’ve seen Lighthouse as it has never been seen before and we thought you’d like to look as well.

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A Tribute Elspeth McBain pays homage to Neil Sorton, one of our founding fathers who quietly paved the way for us to follow. This summer has undergone a long overdue transformation to ensure we continue to attract world class performers and provide first rate community facilities for Poole and the South West region, but as we safeguard this iconic building for future generations it’s important to remember its history. Seeing the building stripped back to its shell has caused me to reflect on the people that had the vision to create it and enable everything that goes on within it to have a home in Poole. In particular I’ve been thinking of Neil Sorton who, having been with us at every step in the process of getting to this point, sadly passed away before he was able to see it come to fruition. A Poole councillor for some 45 years, he served the town tirelessly on a number of fronts, not least as Honorary Secretary to the Board of Directors at Lighthouse. That he agreed to carry out those duties in a non-voting role so as to avoid any potential clash of interests as a sitting councillor was typical of the principled notion of service that underpinned every aspect of his public life. He was a modest man who never pushed himself forward. In board meetings he was astute and reflective but always knew the questions that needed to be asked and the right way to proceed without any fuss. His contribution to Lighthouse is not to be under-estimated for without his quiet advocacy behind the scenes we might not be here at all. The idea for a community cultural centre in Poole can be traced back to the mid-1960s when the creation of a new dance hall was discussed as part of the new Arndale shopping centre. By the early 1970s a major new centre for the arts was envisioned, a place in which to experience live music and drama, see films, go dancing, eat and drink, paint, throw pots or look at modern art and sculpture. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 one of the first decisions of the new Borough of Poole was to endorse the decision to build an arts centre that would not only host professional touring shows and house Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, but also provide a place where the community could participate in a wide variety of artistic activities.


Councillor Sorton fully supported Poole’s Council Leader Alderman Arthur Lloyd Allen and Town Clerk Ian Andrews in favour of the arts centre and in 1975 was appointed one of the founder Trustees of Poole Arts Trust, the charity that runs Lighthouse, before becoming Honorary Secretary to the board of directors in 1996. In characteristically modest manner, Neil went about his duties quietly and efficiently, but when the Centre was criticised for costing too much money to run, Neil was always the first to defend the investment made and to support the management. That unwavering support continued into the new century and the major refurbishment of 2002 when the name Lighthouse was adopted. More recently, in considering the remodelling of Poole town centre some 50 years ago he noted how well the covered shopping centre, sports centre and swimming pool catered for Mammon and the body beautiful. “What about the human soul and the imagination?” he asked. This building was the answer – a bold, imaginative, confident assertion of our artistic heart and learning head. And, now that facilities throughout the building have been brought up to date, it continues to be the answer. In honour of Neil Sorton and our fellow founders Lighthouse is proud to be Poole’s centre for the arts.


Season to taste Excellence comes as standard as we look ahead to the autumn season, the first since our building’s £5.3 million upgrade. In the first live event, on 12 October Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launches its new concert season under the baton of Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits with a programme of Walton’s sparkling second symphony, Rachmaninov’s charming Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Tchaikovsky’s bright fantasy Capriccio Italien. A new English version of Bizet’s Carmen plays on 18 October. The live theatre season opens with a new production from our continuing partnership with the Black Theatre Live touring network and sees the UK’s first all-black production of Hamlet which runs from 20 to 22 October and the English Touring Theatre’s acclaimed production of Terence Rattigan’s sparkling comedy French Without Tears following its sell out success at the Orange Tree Theatre with a week’s run from 8 November. This year’s family pantomime Aladdin, co-produced with Duncan Reeves Productions, opens on 6 December. The critically-lauded circus show Attached, in which everything and everyone – including the audience – is joined together plays on 14 and 15 October and there’s a strong comedy bill this autumn with Mark Steel (23 October), Russell Kane (29 October), Ahir Shah (19 November) and Jimmy Carr (10 December).

Green of Lau with Portishead’s Adrian Utley, Mogwai’s Dominic Aitchison and singers Rachel Unthank and Adam Holmes. Other live music highlights find Dr Hook (4 November), The Lindisfarne Story (27 October) and the amazing a cappella and beatbox antics of The Naked Choir winners, Sons of Pitches (13 November) lined up. We’re also delighted to be hosting the Alan Barnes Octet (9 December) as they tour Christmas Carol, a suite of jazz pieces based on Dickens’ classic festive story with readings by the revered bandleader himself. Those who like to learn from the experts will find plenty of tips to put into practice in both the garden and the kitchen when Monty Don (2 November) and Jay Rayner (3 November) include Lighthouse on their speaking tours – Monty will share stories from his TV career as well as his extensive travels in pursuit of horticultural knowledge; while Jay has lined up his Ten Commandments of Food. Central to our autumn plans is House of Light, a community open day on 27 November, which features a series of performances and creative activities throughout the building including a playful peek behind the curtain at spaces not usually open to the public.

As well as British folk and roots stars Ralph McTell (1 November) and Seth Lakeman (16 December) there’s an outing for Flit (28 October), the stop motion animation soundtracked by a nu-folk supergroup fronted by Martin



Funding the future As this summer’s building improvement work comes to an end, the future of Lighthouse can begin. Having been at the heart of life in Poole for nearly forty years the work carried out this summer will ensure Lighthouse continues to serve the community with arts and culture for decades to come. Indeed, over the next three years we have ambitious plans to extend what we do and forge an even stronger connection to the whole community. “What happened this summer is only the start,” says Chief Executive Elspeth McBain. “We want to provide the best experience possible for audiences and performers alike in a world class facility that also extends an invitation to participate in the arts, nurtures talent and delivers creative learning opportunities.” We aim to curate and produce a diverse programme of theatre, music, dance, cinema, circus and comedy as well as nurturing the best emerging and developing talent from within our community by providing a place in which it can be showcased. We also have a vision to create space for young people to take part in quality arts activities and show their work. For this to happen we need to make sure Lighthouse is in good shape and although we generate some income through ticket sales and hiring our facilities, it is not enough to sustain our plans. As such, your continued long-term support is essential if we are to provide brilliant, world class cultural experiences and facilities for Poole, Dorset and the South West. Visit www.lovelighthouse.co.uk to find out how you can help.

New Function Room

£400k appeal target

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Profile for Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts

Lighthouse Capital Project News - September 2016  

Lighthouse Capital Project News - September 2016