Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts has announced its new autumn season promising ‘a dynamic programme bursting with breathtaking circus, side-splitting comedy and swashbuckling panto!’

The Carte Blanche contemporary circus season continues to build momentum. Following the amazing Le Petit Mal performance in June, The Mill and Le Grand C arrive in October, and to complement these performances Lighthouse is hosting a series of circus-themed films in the cinema, a Contemporary British Circus exhibition in the gallery and a free ‘Family Circus Arts Fun Day’ on 24 October, where all the family will be able to try out and get involved with circus events and activities, including juggling and trapeze.

Lighthouse have comedy line-up of top stand-ups including Shappi Khorsandi, Kevin Bridges, Dara O Briain, Sean Lock and Rhod Gilbert, as well as the return of the hugely popular monthly comedy nights from The Comedy Works.

Theatre and drama includes a star-studded production of Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy Bedroom Farce, followed by the return of the English Touring Opera with The Duenna, which has not been performed in its original form for over 230 years. Other highlights include An Inspector Calls, Romeo & Juliette, Cranford and House of Ghosts, with ex-Dr Who Colin Baker.

Families and young children can look forward to How The Koala Learnt To Hug, Farm Boy, a series of Storytelling sessions and the totally electric Horrible Science, complete with jaw-dropping 3D Bogglevision; while performances from Jaleo Flamenco, Candoco and Jasmin Vardimon will keep dance enthusiasts enthralled.

Musical highlights include the return of Studio Jazz and Lunchtime Recitals, as well as the introduction of Making Tracks, a new World Music season. Other musical events of note include America’s Got Talent’s The Texas Tenors, 60’s Gold from Gerry and the Pacemakers and friends, Yes legends John Anderson and Rick Wakeman, and South Africa’s trumpet maestro Hugh Masekela.

Niki McCretton, Lighthouse resident artist, presents The Elves and the Shoemaker in November, and to end 2010, Lighthouse presents its first ever ‘homegrown’ panto Peter Pan, starring television star Debra Stephenson as the boy who never grew up.

Other season highlights include the Lighthouse Big Sing on 26 September, the Poole Literary Festival in late October and brand new LIVE screenings in the cinema from the The Metropolitan Opera, National Theatre and Stephen Fry performing at the Royal Festival Hall, plus the introduction of a Saturday morning Kids’ Film Club.