GENEROUS audience members have donated hundreds of pounds to Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre, which has closed in line with the latest advice on COVID-19.
Ticket holders to shows including BalletBoyz and English Touring Opera’s productions of Cosi Fan Tutte and Giulio Cesare have elected to donate the price of their tickets to the venue rather than claim a refund or credit note.
“Lighthouse audiences are amazing; we have been genuinely humbled by people’s goodwill as we respond to this unprecedented situation,” says chief executive Elspeth McBain.
“Most of our income comes from ticket sales and the money our audiences spend when they come to Lighthouse. Without shows there are no audiences so as work continues to reschedule lost performances, we are truly grateful for their generosity.”
Most ticket holders are being contacted by email and early figures suggest about 20 per cent are opting to donate some or all of the price of their ticket to the arts centre; of those contacted by phone, more than £500 has been donated in less than two days.
Elspeth says: “In troubled times it’s a natural response to turn to the creative arts and although we must all lead quite different lives for the time being, I look forward to the time when we can welcome our audiences back to Lighthouse – what a happy day that will be.”
Ticket office staff that have been phoning ticket holders have been moved to tears by some of the responses they have received. “People have been incredibly understanding and it’s fair to say some of the team have found it quite emotional,” says ticket sales manager Steve Lambert.
“Although we often hear how much our audiences enjoy the shows they come to see it’s very rare to be told how much Lighthouse itself means to people and how big a part of their lives it is. These are difficult days for all of us, but the good wishes and true kindness of our customers are making a tough time much easier to work through.”
Ticket holders do not need to contact the venue – they will all be contacted by the arts centre.