POOLE’S Lighthouse arts centre is appealing for business sponsorship as it prepares to mount a loss-making season of outdoor performances.

The venue says nothing it does under social distancing rules will make a profit but it wants to take the opportunity to reconnect with its community.

It plans a short season of outdoor performances in the amphitheatre at the side of the building, including music, stand-up comedy, family entertainment and Shakespearean drama.

Fundraising manager Tom Shallaker said: “It has been heart-breaking for us to have to cancel so many shows, and we really miss being able to provide our community with the opportunity to enjoy live performance.

“The government has said that we can start to have live shows, but social distancing measures mean that in order to do so we have to severely restrict audience numbers so that many shows are simply not financially viable.

“Despite the financial crisis caused by the pandemic, this outdoor season is not a money-maker. We are doing it because live performance is at the core of why we exist, and we want to make Poole feel great again.”

Poole's Lighthouse given grant by the Arts Council England

The short-term future of Lighthouse was recently secured by a £255,038 emergency grant from Arts Council England to help see it through the crisis triggered by the pandemic.

The venue ran up a £350,000 shortfall in the first half of the year and had warned it might not survive the summer without an injection of cash.

Poole's Lighthouse needs more cash to survive and might cancel panto

“We’re taking positive steps to reconnect with our community, but as long as social distancing is in place, anything that we do remains at a financial loss to Lighthouse. For that reason we need the financial support of the local business community to ensure we can bring back live events without compromising our ability to continue planning future work.”

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Benefits to sponsors will include brand association with Lighthouse, bespoke advertising offers and hospitality for their staff and clients. Headline sponsorship starts at £3,000 plus VAT.

For information, contact Mr Shallaker at tom.shallaker@lighthousepoole.co.uk.