Tuesday, 11 June 2024 14:04

Poole’s First Pride Makes ‘a positive, lasting impact’

Poole’s first ever Pride event, hosted by Lighthouse, has made ‘a positive, lasting impact’ on the town and the wider community.

A celebration of identity in all its forms, the day-long Poole Pride event on Saturday (8 June 2024) featured a variety showcase hosted by CBeebies star Chris Jarvis, storytelling with Pop ‘n’ Olly, the Proud Pooches dog show, OutSpoken poetry slam and Writing Out Loud spoken word performance, as well as two shows of the Come On Out Cabaret, with local Queer performers, and self-styled dark cabaret drag darling Joe Black in session.

Local support groups and charities were on hand to signpost, offer advice and provide information.

“Poole Pride far exceeded all expectations, it is making a real and lasting positive impact,” says Tim Colegate, Lighthouse Head of Programming

“We said that if we could make a difference for even just one LGBTQ+ person to feel more seen, more valid, more welcomed, and more supported, then Poole Pride will have done its job – and from feedback received on the day and since, we have succeeded in that regard multiple times over.”

Delivering the first Poole Pride was not without challenges, not least the removal of the planned evening concert after the headline act withdrew. The rest of the bill, Drag Race star Bimini, Charlotte Devaney, Ellie Sax and Woody Cook, will now appear at Bourne Free in Bournemouth’s Meyrick Park on Saturday 6 July.

“The loss of the evening concert actually shifted the emphasis onto the daytime activities and, although we all love a party, that community engagement is what is really important,” adds Tim.

“Producing Poole Pride was always going to be a bit different to our regular programme but, as usual, the teams here pulled it off in the inimitable Lighthouse fashion. Their work and commitment – and the continued support of our sponsors – have been truly heartening.”

In the run up to Poole Pride, the venue’s cinema also hosted the first Lighthouse Queer Cinema Festival with four days of LGBTQ+ film presentations culminating in a double bill of films by Poole film maker Rob Falconer, Legendary Children (All of Them Queer) and Sleeping Dragon, shown alongside short films submitted by members of Dorset’s LGBTQ+ community.

The art exhibition, ‘We Didn’t Know Whether It Was a Party or a Revolution’, showcasing the responses of AUB Illustration students to an archive created by Gay Liberation Front co-founder John Chesterman in the early 1970s, continues until 16 June. Also on show is Queer-as-Dorset, a specially commissioned artwork for Poole Pride by Paul Sammut illustrating a Queer history of the county.