Discover the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Mayflower Theatre, in Southampton is the largest theatre on the South Coast with over 2,200 seats in its auditorium is currently what is referred to in the trade as “dark” having closed at the beginning of the current lockdown. However as is tradition in the industry, a single light is left on in the middle of the stage signalling that shows will once again be performed there.

The theatre is 92 years old and the building has seen some development over the years to maintain and update itself. The most recent being the £7.5M refurbishment carried out on the auditorium in 2018. Apart of this, an unseen refurbishment was undertaken under and over the stage itself.

The orchestra pit had a major redesign, reducing both the number of seats lost when the full pit is in use and the time taken to make adjustments to accommodate different shows, as well as improving the acoustics. The whole pit has been set back under the stage so the theatre no longer need to remove rows of seats for certain performances. State of the art fold down seating was installed on the main pit platform and, for when an even larger orchestra pit is needed, there is now a seat store for seating removed under the stalls with access from the pit. Mayflower Theatre is one of only two theatres in the country who have the fold down seats.


The Technical infrastructure was upgraded throughout the theatre with the installation of new network cabling; a new prompt desk and wireless radio communication systems. The counterweight flying capacity has been increased in loading by the installation of steel cross bracing above the grid (The part above the stage on which sets and scenery are hung).


But what about maintaining a building of this size? Well with over 500,000 people attending shows each year it can be a formidable task. The theatre has a small Facilities team who carry out general repairs around the building on a daily basis. The team also have a dedicated & highly skilled network of contractors that they can call upon at very short notice for trade specific works.


The in house facilities team, together with the committed contractors are also responsible for the PPM (planned preventative maintenance) works in the building.  Their intimate knowledge of the theatres’ Mechanical & Electrical systems is key to the planning & implementation of all works.


Maintenance of the building has to be scheduled around the various Visiting Companies’ requirements of the different spaces in the building, which can prove quite challenging at times.  Key to all maintenance work on a listed building, is having a passionate team of people, who are deeply committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for every task undertaken. From brickwork and metalwork to carpets heating, air conditioning and toilets, there is always a job to do to keep the building running ready for the next production to commence.


Mayflower Theatre may be closed now for live productions, but opens this week with a short series of filmed musicals. The majority of the live shows are being rescheduled. The theatre will reopen for customers to once again have inspiring experiences in the comfort of a building that is fully maintained and ready when they arrive. 

In the meantime follow or visit the website: to find out more about Mayflower Theatre’s online activity during the closure.


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