This week’s #MondayMemories finds us back at Parkstone Grammar School with Head of Drama Helen Whelan as she recalls just a few of the shows that have been vital to her students. 

“We are so lucky to have Lighthouse on our doorsteps. I knew it before COVID-19 shut the doors on culture, entertainment and shared experience, and I feel it more than ever as we miss all of those experiences over a longer and longer period. 

After moving here from London in 1998 to teach in the Drama Department at Parkstone Grammar School I have enjoyed countless visits to Lighthouse. Highlights down the years have to include the stellar theatre on offer, from Forkbeard Fantasy's incredible 'Frankenstein' (2002), Berkoff's unforgettable 'Messiah' (2001), Kaos Theatre's 'Moll Flanders' (2005) - shadow puppetry you will never unsee!  

More recently, Mischief Theatre's 'The Play That Goes Wrong' (2017), an evening with Sir Ian McKellen (2019) and Frantic Assembly's 'Things I Know to Be True' (2017) - I can still hear my students sobbing! So many wonderful shows in between and for so many students, their first experience of live theatre. 

Young people will cherish the moment they stepped foot on the stage for their Shakespeare Schools Festival Dress Rehearsal or workshopped with professional actors and students from other schools before performing to a live audience. 

Lighthouse also means so much to us as a family as our son began his love of singing with the BSYC and we have been fortunate enough to see him sing with the BSC chorus and BSO. World class concerts in a world class concert hall. Now no family Christmas is complete without the BSO Christmas Concert! We have also heard Blackford's breathtaking 'Pieta' world premiered here.  We would not have had these opportunities without Lighthouse to house such treasures. 

So, here's to: the imaginations set alight; the young people inspired; the friendships made; the horizons broadened; the creative teaching supported, the talent honed, to our Lighthouse.....cheers, until those doors open again. 

And, in light of all of, this a team of past students from Poole and Parkstone Grammar Schools and special guests set about showing our appreciation through our lockdown LoveForLighthouse concert. Matt Cuff and Jenny Armitage were the driving forces behind this benefit and more than the funds raised, we wanted to show our support for you all in such difficult circumstances. I know that Jenny and Matt are two of many students who feel so grateful for the opportunities and experiences that inspired them on their own journey as musician and actor respectively.  

Thank you, Lighthouse."

Published 12 October 2020