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With audiences returning in numbers this autumn to see performances with no social distancing restrictions Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, is ready to welcome families to a bumper season of theatrical highlights for young people.

At the heart of the programme are three new pieces each offering a fresh take on a well-loved children’s classic.

Leading the way is the premiere of Pinocchio (2 October) by Bridport-based Stuff & Nonsense Theatre Company who have taken the classic elements of the story – a poor woodcarver, the tell-tale growing nose, the dream of becoming a real boy – and added their trademark hilarity, cleverness, puppetry, music and outstanding physical tricks.

One of the most distinctive voices in British theatre, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Theatre bring their famed blend of dance, humour and spoken word to the classic story of The Little Prince (12, 13 November), transposed to a young pilot who crash lands in the desert and must face the baffling world of grown-ups.

And there’s a festive treat in store for the littlest audiences when Lyngo Theatre present a brand-new adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood (26 November-24 December) in which our magical wardrobe opens its doors and a wolf in granny’s clothing knows shares the fun of dressing up with catchy songs and hilarious puppets.

Author Steven Lee will be on hand to sign copies of his books when The People’s Theatre stage their version of How the Koala Learnt To Hug (25 September) at Lighthouse; while the fun-packed comic adventure Ugg ‘N’ Ogg and the World’s First Dogg (9 October) tells the story of how man’s best friend was invented to audiences aged three and over. Younger audiences (4+) will also be enchanted by Beastly Belle (23 October) Norwich Puppet Theatre’s delightful story in which a young heroine learns some harsh life lessons after she is plucked from obscurity by a greedy film producer.

Paines Plough’s award-winning Roundabout pop-up theatre hosts another season of new writing in Hamworthy Park this autumn including Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s new work for over-fives, Really Big and Really Loud (16, 17 October), a rollicking story about losing your voice and going on a big adventure to find it again.

On a much grander scale, cutting edge aerial feats, jaw-dropping juggling and tipsy hoop swirling with live music and lots of laughter add up to a memorable show for all the family in the special matinee performance of Little Luminosa (23 October); and a myriad of magical moments awaits brave explorers as Dragons & Mythical Beasts (26, 27 October), the new show from the creators of the West End smash Dinosaur World Live, heads to Poole for half term.

Published 14 September 2021