Inside the brighton dome.
Photo Credit: Jim Stephenson

Take Five with Liz Porter: Heritage Manager

History & Heritage, Heritage & Tours, News

Liz Porter is the Community and Engagement Manager (Heritage) at Brighton Dome, who works on a variety of fascinating projects across the organisation. Ahead of our upcoming Heritage Open Day this Sunday 11 September, we caught up with Liz to find out what it’s like to work in the Heritage team at Brighton Dome.

"It's about starting conversations, and listening to people too - how do people respond to our stories, and how can we tell them in relevant and inclusive ways?"

Tell us about your role as Community and Engagement Manager (Heritage) at Brighton Dome

I work as part of Brighton Dome’s National Lottery Heritage Fund Capital Project, developing activities alongside the refurbishment of The Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre with a small team and a fantastic group of volunteers.

It’s a joy to discover all the fascinating facts, characters and stories around the history of Brighton Dome and to find exciting ways to bring them to life. We collaborate with many wonderful local communities who help to shape some of the activities we develop. It’s about starting conversations and listening to people too –how do people respond to our stories, and how can we tell them in relevant and inclusive ways?

What does Heritage Open Day at Brighton Dome involve?

Heritage Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to share some of our wonderful stories, to look behind the scenes of the historic building and take part in a range of free family activities. Heritage Open Day forms part of The National Heritage Open Day programme.

Why is it important to engage with our Heritage?

So that we have a greater appreciation and understanding of our past. It’s wonderful to find out how our buildings came about, who built them and how they were used. The architecture is so ornate, and detailed. It’s about finding new ways to look deeper and to reveal more secrets.

It’s the people and stories that bring our buildings to life: Innovators such as Magnus Volk who brough electricity to the Royal Estate, eccentric performers such as Adelie Petti and her Parrott. Brighton Dome’s lovely organ, and Douglas Reeve too.

The buildings haven’t always been performance spaces. Brighton Dome was stables before it became a Concert Hall. And at one time it was part of the Indian Soldiers and Amputee Soldiers hospital. The Corn Exchange was used for roller skating and sporting events. We have such a rich past, and we are excited by what this can inspire with creative interpretation and performances.

Who is invited to Brighton Dome’s Heritage Open Days?

Everyone. Our event is for all the family. We are linking to the National Heritage Open Day theme of ‘Astounding Inventions’’, and our themes are Innovation, Rebuild and Reimagine. We want families to dip into the past and to help us find new connections. So, there’s lots of opportunity for hands-on activities this year.

Can you share some highlights from Sunday’s programme?

We’ve got backstage tours (booking necessary), bookable family arts and crafts activities, live musicians from Waterbear with their contemporary take on old songs, and Windmill Young Actors sharing scenes they have created from our stories.

And we’ve got a new One Minute App trail for you to try out too, featuring snippets from oral histories.

Doors open at 10am, and it’s free! Please come along and help us celebrate the past with a contemporary twist.

Heritage Open Day, Brighton Dome Sunday 11 September

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