TOURING theatre is enjoying something of a revival.

After years in the doldrums, with theatres struggling to fill their seats, travelling companies are now finding themselves welcomed with open arms at venues throughout the country.

There is a wealth of top-quality drama currently treading the boards and people are going out, putting on their best togs, forgetting their worries and woes and making an event of an evening at the theatre.

Lisa Goddard, who is starring in Murder by Misadventure at Poole Arts Centre next week, believes a lot of this is down to the fact that the public are sick of being spoon-fed dross on the television every night and are looking for entertainment that treats them as intelligent human beings.

"People are coming to the theatre more because of the dumbing down of television," she explains. "They want something that doesn't talk down to them - people are sick of being treated as though they are stupid.

"I mean, we all love programmes like Blind Date and the soaps but there is a demand for quality drama, for history and the classics and unless we are careful, that whole part of our heritage will be lost.

"All that wonderful literature - and there's a generation of children out there who are in danger of not knowing anything about it."

Lisa, who has been touring Murder by Misadventure for 14 weeks, has seen first-hand the effects of people across the land turning off their television sets and going to do something less boring instead.

"Local theatre is doing well because it's easy to get to - it's becoming a complete experience," she says.

"When we were in Milton Keynes we had advances of 100,000 and at the Lowry Centre in Salford there were advances of 90,000.

"It's very exciting to be in the middle of it and to have people coming up to you in the street and saying how much they have enjoyed your play.

"I have just finished three years of touring Oscar Wilde's plays and they were packed out."

Edward Taylor's thriller Murder by Misadventure tells the tale of two writers, Harold Kent and Paul Riggs, who fall out when Kent makes moves to dissolve their partnership. Riggs threatens to blackmail him so Kent conspires with his wife Emma, played by Lisa, to kill him.

"It's hugely popular and we're playing to packed houses everywhere," says Lisa, who is sharing the stage with TV star Robert Powell, David Griffin and Michael Kirk.

"The audience love it because it's complex and they can forget themselves in it."

Murder by Misadventure is at Poole Arts Centre from next Tuesday until Saturday, December 1, with performances at 7.45pm and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30. Tickets are £16.50 (eves) and £11 (mats) - call the box office on (01202) 685222 to book.Other events at the centre include the BSO and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus next Wednesday at 7.30pm, while on Thursday, November 29, there is a lunchtime recital at 1.05pm.