LIGHTHOUSE, Poole's Centre for the Arts, is on track to receive a grant to update its facilities.
Having been successful in its Stage One application for Arts Council England's Capital Investment funding programme, it now has the green light to make a Stage Two application. This would be for a conditional grant of £4m towards a £5m refurbishment project and it has up to 18 months to develop the scheme.
Lighthouse will be starting a major fundraising campaign this year to raise the additional £1m required.
Lighthouse CEO Elspeth McBain said: "If successful, this project will enable us to develop and maintain a building fit for the 21st century, working closely with our partner BSO. For both organisations Lighthouse is not just a performance space: It is a place where we both originate and develop work that is then taken out to a much wider audience. We share a common objective of developing joint programmes, productions and educational and marketing initiatives and improvements to the building will help us realise this.
"It is now 12 years since the building was refurbished and we have welcomed many millions of people through our doors since then. Our plans continue work that wasn't completed at that time, as well as improving facilities and equipment and plant to ensure our building continues to be sustainable, welcoming and inspiring to all its users."
BSO chief executive, Dougie Scarfe adds: "We are delighted to be working with Lighthouse on this exciting project. As the BSO's home venue since 1978, Lighthouse is where we give our main concert series and also where the music is prepared and rehearsed for performances across the region. We are sure that the improvements in facilities for audience and artists alike will help Lighthouse remain the leading venue in the South West."
Councillor Judy Butt, cabinet portfolio holder Borough of Poole, said: "I would like to congratulate everyone at Lighthouse who was involved in getting through to the next stage of this major funding application. Borough of Poole is a long standing and enthusiastic supporter of Lighthouse and it would be fantastic for both residents and visitors to Poole if Lighthouse can successfully gain this funding. The project will help to renew and improve our wonderful building and safeguard the future of the arts in Poole for all our residents and visitors."
Lighthouse has outlined plans for the building which include improvements to energy efficiency as well as upgrading mechanical and technical equipment to help reduce costs, improved facilities and accommodation for artists through refurbishment of the back of house areas and to ensure that its resident Orchestra BSO and visiting artists have the right environment in which to create and present their work.
Other proposed projects will see improved disabled parking and access to office accommodation, the development of its studio theatre as a flexible performance and rehearsal space, improved access for audiences with improvements to the external appearance and ambience of the building, making it a more open and inviting place.