Comedy, tragedy, dance, circus and more

POOLE’s Lighthouse is the largest multi-arts complex outside London – and it has a programme to match, embracing all the arts from straight theatre to stand-up comedy, contemporary dance to classical orchestral music, modern jazz to traditional puppets.

The winter-spring 2019 season starts in the theatre with St Petersburg Ballet with two Tchaikovsky favourites, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, from 9th to 12th January.

Other dance and physical theatre entertainment includes Phoenix Dance with The Rite of Spring, Surf The Wave, a UK showcase which is jointly hosted with Pavilion Dance, Brendan Cole with Show Man, the ever-more-outrageous Circus of Horrors with The Psycho Asylum, Spirit of the Dance, and Kevin Clifton of Strictly Come Dancing.

The theatre programme has something for all tastes – laughs galore in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery and Hormonal Housewives, classic comedy in three episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour, dark comedy in Blackeyed Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of Four, and drama from Middle Ground Theatre with The Verdict, Arts University Bournemouth with Far From The Madding Crowd and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, London Classic Theatre in My Mother Said I Never Should, Out of Joint with Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

The art centre’s Sherling Studio has rather more of a cutting edge programme, and the new season offers a lot of food for thought. Fuel explore the experiences of Ugandan refugees in The Dark. Townsend Theatre tell untold stories of our industrial past in Rouse Ye Women. And Then They Came For Me is a multi-media show which tells the real life experiences of two Holocaust-survivor friends of Anne Frank. Storyteller James Rowland, a member of the adventurous Tangram Theatre company, has three one-man shows, Team Viking, A Hundred Different Words for Love and Revelations, exploring his dysfunctional love life.

On-stage entertainments include talks and more with Michael Portillo, Brian Blessed, Pen Hadow, the Hairy Bikers, Des O’Connor and Jimmy Tarbuck, and mountaineer Conrad Anker.

The delightful Tall Tree Theatre make their Lighthouse debut with Lily And The Albatross, and other children’s shows include The Tiger Who Came To Tea, In The Night Garden, Story Pocket with Animalcolm, Tara Arts with Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree and Up The Road in Peril At Sea, an adventure for all the family.

The Lighthouse is home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which has concerts every week, and a new series, Meet The Music Live – monthly lecture-recitals focusing on different composers (Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Dvorak, etc) and instruments or works. Other opera and music includes English Touring Opera with Waxwings, Paradise Planet, (both for children), Verdi’s Macbeth and Mozart’s Idomeneo. The Armonico Consort is joined by the choir of Gonville and  Caius College for an evening of polyphonic masterpieces – Tallis’s Spem in Alium and Striggio’s 60-part Mass.

The Studio Jazz programme includes the Scott Hamilton Quartet, Clark Tracey Quintet, James Taylor Quartet, Hexagonal, the Darius Brubeck Quartet, Martin Taylor and Ulf Wakenius, Sarah Gillespie and Art Themen.

Other gigs include Ben Waters, the Yamoto taiko drummers, a Country Night in Nashville, folk legend Chris Wood, Georgie Fame, Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones tributes and UB40 on their 40th anniversary tour.

The comedy line-up includes Lee Nelson, Julian Clary, Robbert White, Rich Halls and Reginald D Hunter.

The Lighthouse cinema programme features new releases, classics, documentaries and new films from around the world. See the FTR film pages and the arts diary for up to date listings and previews.

For more information on the Lighthouse programme, visit

Pictured: St Petersburg Ballet’s Swan Lake; Fuel’s The Dark; and Blackeyed Theatre, Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four;