Commissioned by Lighthouse and Paines Plough as part of Here and Now, a national and local celebration of culture within communities, The Heart at the Centre of the World was written by Andrew Muir from workshops with young people in Poole. Premiered last Saturday afternoon at Lighthouse: OUTSIDE, with technical support from graduates of our Young Techs course, both its young cast members were from Poole. Naturally, we invited one of our Young Writers, Annie McDonald, to review the performance…


The Heart at the Centre of the World follows the story of two teenagers Eleanor (known as Ellie) and Oliver (known as Olly) on a beach in Poole.

It begins with Ellie in a boat when Olly swims over to her. Throughout the play they talk about a variety of subjects, the main being family, their hopes and dreams, acquaintances (such as Mr Cuff, an elderly man), Ellie’s friend Ben, their futures, and making jokes. During the performance, Ellie and Olly have a sand castle building competition and choose someone in the audience to judge.

Towards the end, Ellie leaves the boat for the first time and sings a song to Olly and discovers something amazing! Throughout the play, Olly feels a beating under the sand. This is continued at the end where they place their hands where it's beating and scream and shout as loud as they can.

The actors, Meghan Donohoe and James Blake, who played Ellie and Olly, kept character the entire time and made the performance even more believable. Furthermore, they did an incredible job keeping a connection with the audience and each other.

Seeing as they only had four rehearsals, Meghan and James did a fantastic job!

The set in The Heart at the Centre of the World was well thought out and used the space on the stage very well. Additionally, the boat and sand were almost centre stage, this created a better sense they were actually on a beach. Continuing, the props used were a lovely touch to add more believability to the performance.

Overall, The Heart at the Centre of the World is a lovely experience and keeps the audience intrigued throughout. Furthermore, the acting was outstanding and I would definitely watch the play again. The plot was extremely creative and stayed exciting throughout.

Annie McDonald, Lighthouse Young Writer


• To continue the youthful theme around The Heart at the Centre of the World, after the show the play sand used to create the stage set was donated to Little Stars Nursery at Penn Hill.


Published 19 July 2021