Their excited faces say it all – these young carers are making the most of a break from their daily lives to enjoy the magic of live theatre.  

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the annual Lighthouse Big Christmas Appeal has been able to provide thousands of free and discounted tickets to children, families and people who might not otherwise be able to experience live entertainment.  

“Christmas can be a really challenging time for young carers,“ says Kate Halden, programme administrator, at MYTIME Young Carers, a Dorset-based charity working to support young carers aged 5-25. 

“Children as young as five are caring for family members at home and this doesn’t change at Christmastime when most children are enjoying the festivities. Being able to have the freedom to act like a child and be treated to something as magical as a show at Lighthouse, with their families, means the world to the young carers we support.” 

This year some 190 young carers were able to see a performance of Beauty and the Beast, the family pantomime starring Chris Jarvis and Michelle Collins produced by the Lighthouse team. 

Over the last year, Lighthouse has given more than 15,000 free or discounted tickets to children, families and people who experience disadvantage. 

“Lighthouse is delighted to be able to support these remarkable young people who take on many responsibilities to help their families so that they can enjoy the experience of live theatre, often for the first time, and have some well-earned entertainment,” says Chief Executive Elspeth McBain.  

This is making a huge difference and having a profound impact on many young people’s lives. As a charity Lighthouse relies on the amazing generosity of donors, as well as grants and sponsorship, to ensure that we are available to everyone no matter what their background or circumstances.” 

Beauty and the Beast, starring Chris Jarvis and Michelle Collins, runs until 31 December. Tickets on sale now at 

To donate to the Big Christmas Appeal, visit 


Photo by Corin Messer Photography

Published 21 December 2021