Concerned by the plight of arts centres in crisis due to the on-going COVID-19 closure, former students of Parkstone and Poole Grammar Schools have rallied round to create a benefit concert for Lighthouse, their ‘cherished’ local venue.
Love For Lighthouse aims to raise £500 for Poole’s centre for the arts with a one-hour online concert that goes live on Friday 31 July at 7.30pm on all major social media sites as well as YouTube and will be available to watch for seven days.
The concert was inspired by former student Jenny Armitage, who has just graduated from University of Chichester Conservatoire, after she contacted Helen Whelan, Head of Drama at Parkstone Grammar, in lockdown with an idea to help Lighthouse.
“Lighthouse was so important to her development – she played with Wessex Youth Orchestra – and she asked if Parkstone and Poole Grammar Schools could do anything to support our cherished venue,” explains Helen.
“We shared the idea on social media and it has taken flight. Many of our alumni now work in theatre, music and dance or are training and they all wanted to support the arts centre that had inspired them in so many ways as they grew up. News spread to friends and the programme has grown and grown.”
Former Poole Grammar head boy Matt Cuff, who has completed a foundation year at Italia Conti and enrolled in Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance, has edited the performances and will present the one-hour show featuring instrumental classical music, contemporary dance, singer songwriters, musical theatre and spoken word.
“We are so grateful and moved by this fabulous idea and are looking forward to watching the concert – thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this event happen,” says Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive of Lighthouse.
"This demonstration of support and love for Lighthouse is of immeasurable value to us – and is what is giving the team at Lighthouse the energy to keep fighting for the survival of our beloved venue.”
At least 12 former students are involved including multi-disciplinary artist Bonnie Schwarz who graduated from the University of Manchester with a double First in Music and Drama. She will appear with her indie-folk band Good Habits.
Love For Lighthouse concert was announced on social media last weekend and more than £100 was raised in the first day alone as staff and students past and present left messages of support and shared their memories of Lighthouse.