The Southampton venue, which has seen the likes of Julie Andrews, Laurel and Hardy, and even The Beatles on its stage is undergoing its biggest makeover in thirty years.
The multi-million-pound project will ensure the theatre remains at the top of its game and continues to draw in hundreds of thousands of people to the city.
Every year more than 500,000 people visit Mayflower Theatre, spending money locally while in the city and boosting the local economy.
During the 11-week project, the theatre will be completely repainted in a new red and gold colour scheme and all the seats in the stalls and circle will be replaced with new, wider seating.
Environmentally-friendly LED lighting will also be installed, and accessibility will be increased to create better facilities for people with disabilities
The orchestra pit will also be moved under the stage and much of the plasterwork will be renovated.
As part of the theatre’s commitment to protecting the environment, 63% of waste from the refurbishment project will be recycled.
An army of contractors, many of whom are from the local area, will work day and night on the project.
At the height of the construction programme there could be up to 120 different tradesmen and women on site per day.
The project has been welcomed by Southampton Cultural Development Trust, which says that Mayflower Theatre plays an important part in the city’s cultural offering.
Chairman Brad Roynon said: “Mayflower Theatre doesn’t just bring in huge shows and hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city every year.
“It also plays an important part in connecting new audiences with theatre and inspiring young people to get involved in the arts.
“It’s therefore absolutely vital that we preserve this historic and culturally important venue to ensure it remains, and develops further, as a catalyst for the growth of arts and culture.”
Michael Ockwell, chief executive of Mayflower Theatre, said: “Closing our doors for just over three months isn’t a decision we take lightly but this work is absolutely vital to make sure the next generation of theatre-goers and performers have access to a world-class facility.
“This is, without doubt, the most significant refurbishment project that the theatre has seen in the last three decades and we’re incredibly excited to get work underway.”
All permanent theatre staff will have the chance to volunteer with local charities and organisations while the refurbishment project goes on. Employees have already lent their skills to gardening at Countess Mountbatten Hospice.
Mayflower Theatre reopens on September 28, with a performance from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on the Friday and Saturday of that week. Tickets can be booked online at www.mayflower.org.uk or by visiting the box office.
The venue opened on December 22, 1928 as the Empire Theatre, becoming The Gaumont in 1950 and eventually Mayflower Theatre in 1987.
It remains the largest theatre in the south of England and attracts 500,000 visitors a year. It employs 230 staff.
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