The Pavilion is one of my favourite buildings in Bournemouth, an Art Deco theatre and ballroom built nearly a hundred years ago, a Grade Two listed building that has outlasted two Winter Gardens. The ballroom has wonderful views of Poole Bay and The Purbecks. If you go to the theatre, don’t be late getting to your seat if you are in the middle of the row; they are narrow with very little leg room, a timely reminder of how slim our recent forebears were. But outside the auditorium there is plenty of space. If you are going to the theatre, explore the rest of the building, saunter down (literally ) the sloping corridors on either side and look out on the Lower Gardens. Then if you need to go before the show, don’t want to queue to use the loo, descend the stairs to the ballroom toilets, more spacious than those at the front of house, with the original ashtrays still in the cubicles.
On Sunday there was a matinee concert with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The whole Pavilion was abuzz so there was obviously another event going on in the ballroom, which could have been anything from a wedding fair to an antiques show. But what no one, sauntering down the corridor in the depths of the building to the ballroom toilets, expected to see were large bare chested men wandering around, wearing what appeared to be ladies see through panties. A shock for elderly ladies on a respectable Sunday afternoon outing and for mothers who had brought their young daughters for some culture. All through Wagner’s serene Siegfried Idyll I was wondering if the chaps had come from some Netflix fantasy drama. I was relieved the young man playing Elgar’s Cello Concerto had his normal concert gear on, as my seat was only a few feet away.
In the interval we discovered from the ushers guarding the ballroom doors that it was All Star Superslam Wrestling. Unfortunately the wrestlers were not seen again so I didn’t get a chance to have another look. But I’m sure Dvorak’s New World Symphony was more exciting.
Alas, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, one of the country’s leading orchestras a Cultural Beacon for the South and South West of England, only play seven or eight concerts a year in Bournemouth. They do not live here, but down the road in Poole at The Lighthouse Centre for the Arts. A bit annoying, as when we moved here I thought I had steered us to heaven, a seaside town with its own orchestra. The orchestra is older than either building, founded in 1893. They are also Classic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England. At The Pavilion Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon concerts we get a jolly Classic FM presenter, who has stories to tell, just like the radio only thankfully without the advertisements.
At The Lighthouse things are more serious, except at Christmas. Here the audience have been praised by conductor Kirill Karabits for trying lesser know pieces every season. BBC Radio Three broadcasts live concerts regularly; occasions when you certainly don’t want to be late getting to your seat or forget to turn your mobile off.
Music is one of the themes of my Brief Encounters trilogy; download the first book for only 99 pence.