Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts has ensured there is family fun aplenty this October half term - whatever the weather!

What does it mean to follow a dream when you don’t fit in and the odds are stacked against you? Great Odds is a new play for six to 11-year-olds about how to follow a dream in a world where that can feel impossible. A collaboration with d/Deaf* and hearing actors that integrates puppetry, visual storytelling, drama, music and sound with British Sign Language, Great Odds is co-produced by Lighthouse with Mac’s Arcadian and makes its theatrical debut in the Sherling Studio on 18 October.

“We will be working with two sign language interpreters in the rehearsal room and we will do a very basic deaf awareness session for everyone at the start, but at no point is anyone’s disability named or labeled – the play is about communication and about what it might mean to follow a dream, literally and metaphorically,” says Esther McAuley of Mac’s Arcadian.

* d/Deaf is a short-cut term used to describe simultaneously people who are Deaf (sign language users) and deaf (hard of hearing who have English as their first language and may lip read and/or use hearing aids).

On 22 October join the former Children’s Laureate and best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson to hear how she started her writing career, how she created some of her best-loved characters as well as finding out about her brand-new book, Hetty Feather’s Christmas. With over 100 published books to her name, Dame Jacqueline Wilson has inspired thousands of children to enjoy reading and writing. Best-known for characters like Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather, she has engaged readers with often challenging themes ranging from divorce to adoption, but her stories are always leavened with humour and her trademark lightness of touch.

Inspired by the powerfully evocative tale of The Pixies’ Scarf by Alison Uttely, Soap Soup Theatre present a brand new theatrical treat for children and their families, set in the wet, craggy lands of Dartmoor on 24 October. With deliciously visual storytelling, Soap Soup combine beautiful puppetry, charmingly funny characters and magical music, offering children aged 3 and upwards their most unforgettable adventure yet.

Join the Trash Test Dummies at Lighthouse on 24 October and see these highly skilled circus performers showcase a stunning array of jaw-dropping acrobatics, juggling and stunt work. Their sidesplitting comedy routine takes the humble household wheelie bin to new heights and is guaranteed to deliver a dump truck full of hilarity for all ages.

The team behind Marty MacDonald’s Farm brings Crafty’s Creepy Castle to the theatre at Lighthouse on 25 October for the spookiest trick or treat show ever. Come in your scariest Halloween costume and join the singalong adventure to find Crafty the Crow’s hidden treasure, including If You’re Happy and You Know It, The Grand Old Duke of York, The Hokey Cokey, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and many more. Children and their families are invited to meet Crafty afterwards and receive a special trick or treat present.

In Shackleton on 28 October live music and puppetry combine to tell a tall tale about stepping out of your comfort zone and saying yes to adventure. Mr Middle has created a predictable routine for himself and his loyal dog, Shackleton, who longs for more adventure - until one day the garden gate is left ajar … Shackleton is a fun and memorable musical tale of one man and his dog as they rediscover the thrills of adventure.

Musical fun for all the family returns to Lighthouse on 28 October with the Mini BSO – a quintet that includes all four families of musical instruments found in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble encourages, entertains and educates thousands of children of all ages, introducing classical music in a fun and family-friendly manner.

The cinema at Lighthouse is also showing a selection of family-friendly movies for the half term week – Cars 3 (24 October), The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (26 October) and The Emjoi Movie (27 October).

Looking ahead to the festive season, families can enjoy 3 Little Pigs from Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company in the Sherling Studio from 9 – 24 December. Perfect for ages 2 and beyond, this brand new show is chock full of puppets, music, comedy and thrills.  Poole’s magical family pantomime Cinderella runs in the theatre from 8 December – 6 January, starring Lucy Kay (Britain’s Got Talent), Ethan Lawrence (Bad Education) and Richard Gibson (‘Allo ‘Allo). A pantomime full of knockabout laughter, spectacle, audience participation and real ponies, Cinderella is written and directed by Peter Duncan.

Tickets & information 01202 280000

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