Lighthouse comes alive on the lawns

THERE is a palpable excitement and relief in the news from the team at Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre that live performance is returning in the form of Lighthouse: OUTSIDE, a short season of weekly shows outdoors. 

There will be four events, in the amphitheatre to the side of the arts centre on four Saturdays in September and October, offering the first live comedy, music, magic and theatre since the doors were closed in March. 

The season opens on 19th September with an afternoon Comedy Club 4 Kids, a swear-free hour of stand-up comedy and sketches, and a special evening in the company of Live and Unheard, the monthly showcase of unsigned original music talent that has been one of the arts centre’s great successes over the last 18 months. Mischa and His Merry Men will headline with support from Chris Payn and Becoming Branches. 

Renowned magician and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ben Hart brings his 2-Metre Magic show to the Lighthouse lawn on 26th September and that evening Coastal Comedy presents a stellar bill headlined by BBC Radio 2 award winner Angela Barnes. A regular on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo she’ll be joined by rising star Luke Honnoraty and the hilarious Sunjai Arif, with regular host Adrienne Coles. 

Lighthouse Associate Artist Lorna Rees presents Cloudscapes, her uniquely memorable sound installation, in a series of six daytime sessions on 3rd October. A cloud-gazing duologue for performer and clouds it is guaranteed to live long in the mind. That evening sees singer songwriter Olly Olsson back at the venue that has been central to his development, showcasing new material and old favourites. 

Lighthouse: OUTSIDE draws to a close on 10th October in the company of the world’s first cycling theatre company, The HandleBards are touring their “seriously silly”, pedal-powered production of Romeo and Juliet with a new children’s show, Gnora the Gnome’s Daytime Disco. 

All measures have been taken to ensure a safe, COVID-secure environment for artists, audiences and staff alike with capacity limited to 100 tickets for each show and households and “bubbles” seated at a social distance from each other in line with the latest regulations. In the event of bad weather, performances will move inside to the theatre. Tickets for all performances must be booked. More information and bookings at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk.  

Meanwhile, the Lighthouse team is also looking ahead to 2021, and has announced five performances in the arts centre, covering the broad sweep of entertainment for which the centre is known:

• Ray Mears: We Are Nature, Saturday 20th February; an inspirational and educational show, with Ray demonstrating and explaining techniques that will help us improve our senses and highlight the problems Nature faces today. 

• Grace Petrie, a talented lyricist and great live performer, with the Resistance Band,Thursday 4th March.

• Stewart Lee, Snowflake/Tornado, Saturday 15th May; a double-bill of two new 60-minute sets, back to back from a Lighthouse favourite described by The Times as “the world’s greatest living stand-up.”

• Rock of Ages, Here We Go Again, Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th June; the smash hit LA love story musical packed with classic rock anthems.

• Steve Hackett, Genesis Revisited Seconds Out + More, Friday 8th October; some 42 years after he first played in Poole, on the eve of a world tour the former Genesis lead guitarist returns to play the band’s 1977 live album Seconds Out, plus other fan favourites. 

Pictured: The amphitheatre outside the Lighthouse building; Lorna Rees with Cloudscapes; The Handlebards’ Romeo and Juliet, photograph by Rah Petherbridge.