An iconic theatre is set to reveal a new look this week, following a £7.5m refurbishment project.
Mayflower Theatre in Southampton ‘went dark’ for the multi-million-pound project back in June and, 16 weeks later, it’s set to reopen to the public.
The venue has been completely repainted with a new red and gold colour scheme. All of the seats in the stall and circle have been removed and replaced with 1,659 brand-new, wider seats. New environmentally-friendly LED lighting has been installed, the orchestra pit has been moved beneath the stage and accessibility has been improved, with better facilities for people with disabilities.
The multi-million-pound project will ensure the theatre remains best in class and continues to draw in hundreds of thousands of people to the city. Every year more than 500,000 people visit Mayflower Theatre and the venue contributes an estimated £75m to the economy.
Michael Ockwell, chief executive of Mayflower Theatre, said: “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 open the doors and show the public.
“For us, this project is very much about ensuring Mayflower Theatre remains best in class not just for now, but long into the future.”
The project has been welcomed by Southampton Cultural Development Trust. 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.”
Mayflower Theatre is the biggest regional theatre outside of London and has seen the likes of Julie Andrews, Laurel and Hardy, Michael McIntyre, Take That and even The Beatles tread its boards over its 90-year history. 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 employs 230 staff.
Mayflower Theatre’s reopening on Wednesday (Sep 26) will be celebrated with a gala evening of music and entertainment commemorating Mayflower Theatre’s 90 years and celebrating the future with some of the next generation of stage performers.
The first official performance will be Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, which runs from September 28 and 29.
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