Lighthouse, Poole Centre for the Arts is, among other things, a theatre. But it is much more than that; billed as the largest regional arts centre in the UK, it contains a 1500 seat concert hall, two theatres, a cinema, an art gallery as well as bars and a cafe. Originally built in 1978 to house the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, it hosts drama, dance, music, comedy, film and visual arts events. We went for a dose of musical theatre with Fantastically Great Women who changed the World.
The Lighthouse is in the centre of Poole, right opposite the bus station and just a few minutes’ walk from the train station, so extremely convenient to reach by public transport. If you prefer other modes of transport, there is a car park and secure bike parking at the Dolphin Shopping Centre opposite.
The theatre only has 669 seats, so it’s an intimate affair, with nobody very far from the action on stage. In addition, the seat rows are placed further apart than in many theatre’s I’ve visited – ideal for the post-Covid era of social distancing.
The Lighthouse was, in fact premiering Fantastically Great Women who changed the World (Dorset- centre of the universe, don’t you know?) Adapted from a book by Kate Pankhurst, a descendent of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, it tells the story of some hugely inspirational women. Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, Jane Austen, Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie get to tell their stories of how their actions changed our world for the better. As well as some less famous women, such as Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel and British Secret Agent Marie Christine Chilver.
We really enjoyed our trip to the Lighthouse. It was a great new musical (the producer, Kenny Wax, and several of the cast and crew were previously involved in the musical Six and it has a very similar vibe) in intimate, comfortable surroundings. I shall definitely be back for another fix of live entertainment – next up, The Magical Music of Harry Potter…