Hundreds of local school children enjoyed a rare peek behind the scenes as Lighthouse staged its first ever Behind the Magic sessions following performances of its smash-hit pantomime Aladdin.
Having boo-ed and hissed their way through the show, the school groups remained in their seats to watch as the stage was cleared and the show reset for the next performance while Production Designer James Smith provided step-by-step commentary.
“The response was incredible,” says Lighthouse Creative Engagement Producer Charles Shenton. “James had the idea of showing young people what goes on after the curtain comes down. It happens after every show, which makes it a great way to talk about different career opportunities in theatre and share some of the magic of special effects.
“This year saw the launch of Lighthouse Academy, in part to help train and inspire the next generation of theatre practitioners, so this is a perfect example of Lighthouse Academy in action.”
In the final session, Poole High School students, joined in a panel discussion with Chris Jarvis and fellow cast members Andrew Pollard, Alim Jadavji, Ionica Adriana, Stephanie Walker and Jo Michaels Barrington, as well as company stage managers Sky Barnes and Jill Standish, Lighthouse technician Josh Orde and programming executive Ashton Corbin.
“The students came up with some really insightful questions and contributed to a lively discussion,” adds Charles.
“Of course, the fact that we put one of their teachers on the flying carpet might have helped!”
Belinda Ellicott, Director of Performing Arts at Poole High School, adds: “We bring our Year Seven students to the pantomime at Lighthouse every year and for some of them it’s the first time they’ve been to the theatre. This has been such a good event. It may well open their eyes to a possible future career, or at least encourage them to make theatre-going a part of their lives.
“Thank you, Lighthouse!”