Community play lands donation from historic Trust


SALT, Poole's large-scale community play produced by Lighthouse, has been awarded a generous grant of £15,000 by Talbot Village Trust, the long-established charity that supports projects that benefit the people of east Dorset. 

The play, to be performed at Lighthouse from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 July with street scenes played out in Poole’s Old Town and High Street on the Friday and Saturday, features a community cast of around 100 actors and singers aged nine to 86, alongside five professional actors and three musicians.

“We’re delighted and extremely grateful to Talbot Village Trust for supporting this ambitious and inclusive cultural project in the heart of Poole,” says Lighthouse Chief Executive Elspeth McBain.

“So much has already been achieved by a dedicated creative team and volunteers from wonderfully diverse communities throughout Poole, but this injection of funding has come at just the right time to see our plans come to fruition.”

Set between 1681 and the present day, SALT shines a light on the fascinating historic relationship between Poole and Newfoundland where, by the end of the 17th century, many Dorset families had settled as economic migrants from rural and coastal poverty.  

Talbot Village Trust Chair Nick Ashley-Cooper adds: “Community theatre brings people of all ages together and nurtures creative talent. We’re incredibly proud to support this wonderful exploration of Poole’s unique past which introduces audiences to Poole’s historic connection to Newfoundland, much of which can still be seen and felt in communities across the town today.”

Conceived, created and directed by Lynne Forbes and Tamsin Fessey of Angel Exit Theatre from a specially commissioned script for the community play by Stephanie Dale, the play’s costumes have been designed and made by students at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB). Community volunteers have helped with props and scenery.

Poole-based theatre maker Heidi Steller has designed and built two giant puppets and Tom Sharkett, of the breakthrough band W H Lung, has composed original music. Renowned Dorset folk musician Tim Laycock is musical director and Michelle Nova of La Nova Singers is the choir leader. 

“The collaboration between professional creatives and volunteers from across the local community has been nothing short of inspirational,” adds Elspeth.

“This kind of collaborative working adds value and meaning to our understanding of Poole by highlighting the continued relevance of its rich heritage and celebrating its vibrant contemporary culture.”


Tickets for SALT are available now at