The largest Theatre in the south, Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre is 25 years old today – Friday 24 February. As part of the celebrations during the year the Theatre will be hosting a Gala Concert in October and hold an Open Day in August full details on these events will be announced soon.
The Theatre opened in 1928 as the Southampton Empire, changed its name to the Gaumont in 1950, and became The Mayflower in 1987.
The Mayflower Theatre is a registered charity which receives no funding from external bodies. The Theatre relies entirely on what it earns through ticket sales activities. It is the aim of the Mayflower Theatre Trust to preserve and maintain a thriving theatre for the local community and support drama, dance and opera in Hampshire by the provision of quality products.
Dennis Hall, Chief Executive said, “Having been in charge of this wonderful theatre since its inception in 1986 my priority has always been to provide the very best of the industry’s touring productions to the people of the South staging world class Musicals, Plays, Ballet, Opera, and Drama. This has without doubt made The Mayflower a number one venue on the touring circuit and a theatre the people of the south can be proud of. Here’s to the next 25 years.”
The newly named Mayflower Theatre opened with a production of Peter Pan on Tuesday 24 February 1987 starring Bonnie Langford. All eyes were on the theatre as it started out with a mixed programme of events – would it become a success or a white elephant? Dennis Hall then made a bold decision to stage a major pantomime starring the biggest comic star of the day, Les Dawson. Babes In The Wood attracted over 65,000 people, and galvanized the people of the south to see what this great theatre could do.
This was just the beginning of a 25 year success story, as the Theatre became part of the premier league of the industry bringing fantastic shows to the south including the blockbusters Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, We Will Rock You, Les Misérables Dirty Dancing and Oliver!
Later in the year the Theatre is hosting the UK Premier of the Green Day musical American Idiot in October, and will be bringing Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in January 2013 to round of the Anniversary year.
This Christmas The Mayflower will be working with Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, to stage one of the biggest traditional pantomimes in the country – Jack and The Beanstalk. Expect a hilarious show with comedy, stunning sets and spectacular costumes in an unmissable show for all the family. Dennis added, “Harking back to the pantomime that was such a success 25 years ago, I am delighted that we bring traditional panto back to The Mayflower from the best in the business – it will be a fantastic Christmas – oh yes it will!” A star cast will be announced soon. Tickets will be on sale in March.
Tickets for all Mayflower shows are on sale from The Mayflower Box Office tel: 02380 711811, online at mayflower.org.uk or in person from the Mayflower ticket south shop in The Mall (Marlands), Southampton. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833