The Lighthouse (Poole)
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The Arts Centre, December 2007
|Arts centre, Theatre and Cinema|
|Founded||Poole in 1978|
It has a 669-seat theatre, a 1,500 seat concert hall, a 150-seat studio, a 105-seat cinema, an Image Lab/media suite, a large gallery for photography and digital art, a restaurant and three function rooms. The concert hall is home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
History, development and funding
The Poole Arts Centre (Towngate Theatre, Wessex Hall and Ashley Cinema) opened in April 1978 to serve the South East Dorset conurbation. The venue closed in May 2002 for an £8.5 million radical refurbishment and overhaul. This was paid for by Arts Council Lottery Awards, the Borough of Poole and through private donations. It reopened as Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts in October 2002. The refurbishment added new extensive facilities including a modern cinema, expanded concert hall and photography labs. Other additions included expanded customer facilities and a new restaurant.
The Lighthouse receives additional funding from the Arts Council England. In 2005/06 £230,000, in 2006/07 they received £330,000 in 2007/08 they will receive a total of £339,080. The Lighthouse is currently owned by the Poole Arts Trust Ltd.
Programming and types of shows
Lighthouse provides a wide ranging programme, including:
- Mid-scale musical tours (such as Fame and Blood Brothers)
- Opera (annually from English Touring Opera)
- Dance (both contemporary and classical)
- Plays (ranging from classics such as Romeo and Juliet, An Inspector Calls to more modern day 'kitchen sink dramas')
- Pantomime (Cinderella for 2006/7 starring Bobby Crush, Peter Duncan & Brian Cant)
- Weekly performances on Wednesday nights from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
- Regular performances from the Wessex Youth Orchestra
- World music
- Rock concerts (including KISS, Oasis, Kings of Leon, U2, Page & Plant, Rufus Wainwright, Doves, Fun Loving Criminals)
- Small scale children's theatre
- Small scale adult theatre
Eclectic mix of world cinema, and recent releases normally presented 4–8 weeks after general release.
The Lighthouse is situated just outside the main shopping centre / high street in Poole. However it is only a short walk from the centre of town.
The venue is easily accessible by public transport (10 minute walk from Poole railway station (for trains to London Waterloo, Southampton, Winchester and Weymouth, amongst others) and is opposite Poole bus station for local services across the town and into Bournemouth, Christchurch, Salisbury and Swanage) and also by the road network, within reasonable travel time from such towns as Dorchester, Weymouth, Yeovil, Salisbury, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Lymington, Southampton and Blandford.
There is adequate car parking for visitors to the Lighthouse Theatre in the Dolphin Centre multi-storey which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.