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The Lighthouse is an arts centre in Poolemarker, Dorsetmarker, Englandmarker. According to the Arts council of England it is the largest arts centre in the United Kingdommarker outside Londonmarker.

It has a 669 seat theatre, a 1,500 seat concert hall, a 150 seat studio, a 105 seat cinema, an Image Lab/media suite, a large gallery for photography and digital art, a restaurant and three function rooms. The concert hall is home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

History, Development and Funding

The Towngate theatre and Poole Arts Centre opened in 1979 to serve the South East Dorset conurbationmarker. The venue closed in May 2002 for an £8.5 million radical refurbishment and overhaul. This was paid for by Arts Council Lottery Awards, the Borough of Poolemarker and through private donations. It reopened as Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts in October 2002. The refurbishment added new extensive facilities including a modern cinema, expanded concert hall and photography labs. Other additions included expanded customer facilities and a new restaurant.

The Lighthouse receives additional funding from the Arts Council England. In 2005/06 £230,000, in 2006/07 they received £330,000 in 2007/08 they will receive a total of £339,080. The Lighthouse is currently owned by the Poole Arts Trust Ltd.

Programming and types of shows

Lighthouse provides a wide ranging programme, including:
Lighthouse logo


Concert Hall


  • Small scale children's theatre
  • Small scale adult theatre


Eclectic mix of world cinema, and recent releases normally presented 4–8 weeks after general release.


Lighthouse is situated just outside the main shopping centre / high street in Poole. However it is only a short walk from the centre of town.

The venue is easily accessible by public transport (10 minute walk from Poole railway stationmarker (for trains to London Waterloo, Southampton, Winchester and Weymouth, amongst others) and is opposite Poole bus station for local services across the town and into Bournemouthmarker, Christchurchmarker, Salisburymarker and Swanagemarker) and also by the road network, within reasonable travel time from such towns as Dorchestermarker, Weymouthmarker, Yeovilmarker, Salisbury, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Lymingtonmarker, Southamptonmarker and Blandfordmarker.

There is adequate car parking for visitors to the Lighthouse Theatre in the Dolphin Centre multi-storey which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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