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.