If you’re looking for some live evening entertainment, there is a wide selection of concert halls and theatres in Bournemouth and Poole. This list includes venues for nationally touring musicals and the globally acclaimed Bournemouth Syphony Orchestra, through to boutique theatres serving up circuit comedians, farce and indie bands.
Here are our recommended theatres in Bournemouth and Poole, from big to small:
1. Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), Bournemouth
Well-known as a political party conference venue, the BIC also hosts performances by mainstream comedians such as Michael McIntyre and musicians like Paul Weller. It is smaller than other venues in this bracket, and combined with the square shape of the building means performances in the Windsor Hall have an intimate feel. It’s located in an excellent position on the beachfront next to Bournemouth Pier and from the bar you can take in stunning sea panoramas.
2. Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth
The Pavilion Theatre is a elegant Art Deco seaside theatre, dating back to the 1920s. Here you can see West End productions, pantomime, opera, ballet and comedians. Whatever you see, the characterful building ensures your evening feels special. Positioned within the splendour of Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens, you can spend a full evening enjoying a meal in one of the many restaurants, having a wander through the gardens, visiting the beach and heading on to the the show.
3. The Lighthouse Theatre, Poole
The Lighthouse is primarily comprised of a symphonic concert hall, constructed as the new home of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in the 1970s, and a medium-sized theatre.
The venue is focused on the arts and you can see a variety of modern dance, music, theatre, comedy, films and even circus acts here. It excels above all in its function as a concert hall, and seeing an outstanding BSO performance is not to be missed. If you are looking for food before or after an event, we have written a post that includes the best pubs in Poole town.
4. The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne Minster
A small and well-loved venue, The Tivoli was saved from demolishion in 1979 and painstakingly restored by an army of local volunteers. Originally built in the 1930s as a cine/theatre, it continues this tradition today and shows a variety of films alongside live stage shows.
5. Regent Centre, Christchurch
The Regent Centre is similar to The Tivoli in terms of size, performances and background, and was reopened in 1983 with the support of loyal volunteers and Christchurch Borough Council. The two venues show different acts however, so it is worth checking their schedules.
6. O2 Academy, Boscombe
The O2 focusses primarily on contemporary music and club nights. Notable recent acts include ska band The Selecter, 90s indie group Shed Seven and poet John Cooper Clarke.
7. Old Fire Station, Bournemouth
Part of Bournemouth University’s Student Union and mainly hosting student club nights, the Old Fire Station has live performances open to all. Recent acts include the Dead Kennedys, The Hoosiers and Newton Faulkner.
8. Brownsea Open Air Theatre, Brownsea Island
The wildcard option! The open air theatre on Brownsea is only open for two weeks at the end of July to early August and is a truly unique experience. Top notch Shakespeare plays are performed in the solid timber theatre and many people take picnics to eat before the show begins. During the interval, you can see St. Mary’s Church by candlelight.
You may also find our article on top local cinema venues an interesting read.
That’s the end of our list, thank you for reading. Do you know of any theatres in Bournemouth or Poole we have missed or information we could add? Feel free to get in touch and let us know.