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Curtain rises on £7.5m theatre makeover

One of the UK’s most successful regional theatres has lifted the curtains on a brand-new era in its 90-yearhistory, following a £7.5m refurbishment project. The iconic Southampton venue has been completely repainted with a dramatic 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 while the seats in the balcony have been reupholstered. The theatre has gained an extra seat, taking its total seat capacity to 2,274. 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.

“This is without doubt the most significant refurbishment project that the theatre has seen in the last three decades and we were thrilled to lift the curtains on the new look tonight. For us, this project is very much about ensuring Mayflower Theatre remains best in class not just for now, but long into the future.”

Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive, Mayflower Theatre

“Mayflower theatre has been an integral part of Southampton’s rich cultural offer for generations. Now, as one of the biggest theatres outside of London, this exciting and essential refurbishment cements its place in our city’s growing and dynamic cultural identity for generations to come.

"The Mayflower not only attracts thousands into our city, growing the local economy, but also invests in supporting local talent and helps puts Southampton on the map. The city are extremely proud of their achievements, and it was wonderful to celebrate their reopening with them.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, Southampton City Council

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-yearhistory. The venue opened on December 22, 1928as 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.

Read more over on Invest in Southampton.

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