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25 May, 2005

Work to start on upgrade of Poole's Lighthouse

Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, is to close its doors at the end of the month as work gets underway on the much-needed upgrade of the iconic building.
At the heart of life in Poole since it opened in 1978, some parts of the building and its infrastructure have remained untouched for nearly 40 years and are in need of modernisation. In order for this to happen, Lighthouse will close on Saturday 28 May and reopen to the public on Wednesday 12 October.
A temporary, pop-up ticket office will open outside the Terrace cafe on Tuesday 31 May and operate a five-day service, opening from 9.30 am to 5pm Monday to Friday, until 11 October, although tickets can still be bought at any time on the venue’s website,
“Although we’re closing the building for longer than usual this summer we’re not going away – far from it,” says Chief Executive Elspeth McBain. “While the work to upgrade the facilities and improve the technical capabilities throughout the building is being completed we are also planning a number of performances in spaces within the town.
“If we are to attract the very best artists we need to make Lighthouse fully fit for the future and provide a first-rate experience for everyone who comes here, whether as an audience member, a performer, for business meetings or with any of the many groups that use the building.
“We are delighted that by doing this work now, we can continue to provide brilliant cultural activities for the whole community and launch our exciting plans for the future.”
The summer refresh of Lighthouse includes:
:: Moving the main entrance to a central position;
:: Installing clear glass across the front of the building and a new glass wall for the Gallery;
:: Improving the carbon footprint and sustainability with low energy lighting and a new water system;
:: Transforming the Studio theatre with a new thrust configuration so the audience will be wrapped around the performance space, a new sound and lighting system and improving access with up to eight new wheelchair-user positions;
:: Increasing the coverage and reliability of the induction loop system for the hearing-impaired;
:: Overhauling the moving flat floor mechanism and installing new air cooling and humidification technology in the Concert Hall;
:: Modernising the backstage area with a new stage door entrance, improved security, upgraded dressing rooms and the creation of the building’s first Green Room; and
:: Creating a new education and rehearsal space on the first floor and updating the existing function rooms with improved sound insulation and AV facilities.
Lighthouse is already benefitting from the initial work that was carried out last summer and included new sound and lighting in the Concert Hall and Theatre as well as a host of technical, mechanical and electronic improvements.
“The investment in the future of this magnificent building will pay instant dividends by enabling us to develop our programme to respond to both our community and the theatre sector nationally,” says Elspeth.
Fundraising is on going for the current programme of works and future plans.
“While income is generated through ticket sales and our entertainment facilities, as a registered charity Lighthouse relies on donations from our supporters to keep the building running, attract high quality artists, and provide a wealth of art and culture that sustains our current offer and provides new and exciting cultural opportunities.”
The first public performance at Lighthouse following its reopening will find Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits on the podium as Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launches its autumn concert programme on 12 October with Walton’s second symphony, Rachmininov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien.
A community re-opening open day event will be held in late November


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