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Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, is making its first open call to support and develop new work for its Sherling Studio space. 

In recent years Lighthouse has awarded commissioning funds to artists and companies that it has worked with regularly including Dante or Die, Gecko, Gandini Juggling and Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company, but this is the first time Lighthouse has made an open call to support and develop new relationships.  

The £10,000 award will go to an artist or company making work suitable to present in the Sherling Studio that can be programmed in 2022 or 2023. It is anticipated the commission will support bids for further funding and Lighthouse will also consider supporting the work with rehearsal space and discuss opportunities for hot-desking.  

“This award is about supporting and celebrating new and innovative professional work,” says Paula Hammond, Producer: Artist Development. “We welcome approaches from both new and established artists and companies, and welcome productions that use new technology, physical theatre, puppets, circus or other creative staging and production devices to tell interesting stories. 

“We won’t shy away from difficult or challenging subjects.” 

The application process is open immediately and the successful artist or company will be informed in mid-January with an official announcement at the Dorset Artists Festival later that month.  

"This application process is about whetting our appetites for further discussion and, if we think it is suitable, we’ll be in touch for further conversations and meetings before we make a final decision,” adds Paula. “For initially unsuccessful applicants there may be other ways Lighthouse can support their work with space and advice.” 

The deadline for pitches is 30 November 2021. Further conversations with selected artists and companies will take place in December with a final decision made no later than mid-January.  

The Brief  

Important – to be considered your production will need to comply to all the following criteria:  

suitable to be performed in the Sherling Studio   
run at a minimum of 60 mins  
suitable for an adult audience, aged 14+ 
maximum cast of six – suitable for studio scale budgets  
a new production not previously staged  

In addition, productions should include at least one of the following criteria:  

includes themes that address issues and celebrate people of the Global Majority, those who identify as disabled and/or LGBTQ+ 
you and/or cast members include people of the Global Majority, those who identify as disabled and/or LGBTQ+  
you are based in Dorset   
includes themes that address contemporary rural and/or seaside issues   

Lighthouse wants our commissioned artists to reflect our audiences and communities. We encourage applications from people who are under represented in the arts, including people who experience racism, identify as working class, have disabilities, are from the LGBTQ+ community, are care experienced or are discriminated against.  

If you would like to be considered, please visit https://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/creative-engagement/new-voices/lighthouse-open-call-commission/ and complete the application form.  

This commission has been made possible with funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation. 

Published 7 October 2021