Presented in partnership with Bournemouth-based studio and music hub Hangover Hill, Live and Unheard is the first time Lighthouse has regularly hosted local music acts since the 1990s and has been a major success story this year, with around 1000 people attending the eight shows so far.

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“It works because of the venue – the feel of it and the fact it is a professional set up, but not at all stuffy,” says Hangover Hill’s Matt Black who curates the line ups with his fiancé Mel Berkhauer.

“There’s something about it being a studio theatre that means you want to sit and pay attention to the music. That’s why we insist on original music because once a performer realises the audience wants to hear them play it changes everything. Suddenly they can just be who they want to be on stage and let the music speak for them.

“It is hugely empowering for performers and a giant leap forward in their artistic development, something that would not be possible without the involvement of Lighthouse.”

On 1 August Live and Unheard has put a slot on the Christmas bill up for grabs to the winner of the open mic contest at The Cricketers in Wimborne.

“The landlord is a real fan of Live and Unheard and wanted to involve some acts that we might not otherwise have been able to see so it seems like the perfect solution,” says Matt.

Live and Unheard returns to Lighthouse on 4 September before staging its first Unplugged edition on 27 September as part of Roundabout, the pop-up venue with four days of theatre, live music and comedy presented by Lighthouse as part of Bournemouth Arts by the Sea festival.

“It has been an incredible year,” adds Matt. “We didn’t really know what to expect when Lighthouse approached us and had no idea how well Live and Unheard would work, but the feedback from bands and audiences alike has been so positive. It has had a galvanising effect on the live music scene locally and we’ve seen acts grow in confidence before our eyes – it’s quite special.”

By Nick Churchill Published 18 July 2019