And what an amazing place! With a 669 seat theatre, a 1,500 seat concert hall, a 150 seat studio, a 105 seat cinema, an Image Lab/media suite, a large gallery for paintings, sculpture, photography and digital art, and three function rooms The Lighthouse is the biggest arts centre in the United Kingdom outside of London. Over the next three months I will be working on a collection of poems as a response to my experiences here. I'll be talking to the people who work here, the people who come to perform, those who come to be entertained and exploring behind the scenes.
The Jazz Dance Company's Silver Screen Tour performed at The Lighthouse last night. The show allows students from London Studio Centre to gain experience as a professional company, and offers audiences the chance to see a programme of works ranging from the lyricism of contemporary jazz to modern street dance to the rhythmic complexities of tap.
Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to watch the dancers warm-up (this is gold dust for a writer) -- Simon Horrill, a teacher at London Studio Centre, led the warm-up and as the usual music wasn't available I was treated to semi-improvised routines full of rhythmical instructions in a sing-song style which the dancers followed with precision. It was wonderful. Each routine stretched a certain set of muscles (the dancers study physiology as part of their degree) and between routines they laughed, joked, chatted, performed incredible spins, sniffed and drank from water bottles. With a clap-clap from Simon the next routine would begin; to watch thirty faces which had been animated a moment ago become suddenly calm, in unison; to watch the softening of cheeks and jaw; and how the eyes now looked somewhere beyond the walls of the theatre, well, it was truly something.