MAST Mayflower Studios
MAST Mayflower Studios launch confirmed with Arts Council England and Southampton City Council support
On Friday 2 October, the Mayflower Theatre Trust Board met to ratify that Mayflower Academy Ltd (MAL) will officially take over the operation of Studio 144 North under its new name of MAST Mayflower Studios.
Today Arts Council England confirm a commitment of £905,804 which will support the development of the city’s new cultural hub, MAST Mayflower Studios. This investment, along with Southampton’s City Council’s grant of £511,250 will enable the venue to establish themselves as a new business and ensure that the appropriate plans and governance structures are in place to develop a fantastic and diverse cultural programme that will engage audiences from across Southampton.
The Mayflower Theatre Trust has established Mayflower Academy Ltd to operate MAST Mayflower Studios and will be a key cultural partner within the City, and aims to be an integral part of Southampton’s UK City of Culture 2025 bid. Southampton City Council awarded the lease and grant funding to MAL on 16 September after an assessment process using detailed criteria, created jointly by Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and Arts Council England. All parties felt that Mayflower Theatre Trust’s bid clearly demonstrated its understanding of the strategic context and wider impact of culture and creativity across Southampton. This together with the Trust’s proven track record, collaborative working, artistic credentials, and their ability to develop and deliver a strong community based cultural offer, made for a very strong and sustainable offer for the City. Their bid was supported by a significant number of letters of support from Southampton’s cultural organisations and institutions.
The building will be handed over to MAL later this month with the aim that MAST Mayflower Studios will be able to present Covid-safe live performances from April 2021. The desire is to create a creative hub working with and supporting local artists and companies. The building will produce work which will be created and respond to its local community.
Michael Ockwell, Mayflower Theatre Chief Executive said, “This is a wonderful addition to our Mayflower operation and we are delighted to play our role in broadening Southampton’s rich cultural ecology. MAST Mayflower Studios will be an exciting cultural hub with creativity at the very heart of everything it does. We are grateful for the trust that has been put in us by both SCC and ACE with their generous funding and look forward to working with our community and developing our engagement work. I am also very pleased to announce that Sara Scott, our Head of Creative Learning, will combine her current role with the new position as Executive Director of MAST for an initial period. Sara has vast experience of working with the local community and is respected and admired and is the perfect appointment for this role.”
Sara Scott, Executive Director of MAST Mayflower Studios added, “I am excited and honoured to take up my new role and look forward to bringing MAST Mayflower Studios to life. Being born and bred in Southampton it is such a privilege for me to work with local people and other cultural organisations to give the best opportunities to take part and enjoy exceptional cultural experiences. We are developing a fantastic programme for the opening year of the studios welcoming all to come along and get involved in this exciting new cultural hub. I look forward to recruiting the team that will take the building on the next stage of its journey. We aim for MAST to be a beacon of creative light central to the city’s aspiration to be City of Culture in 2025.”
The skills that Sara Scott brings to the role, particularly around community engagement, lend themselves to the vision of MAST Mayflower Studios, and helps to achieve the Arts Council’s new strategic vision – Let’s Create - whereby the ambition is that by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences.
Phil Gibby Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said, “We are really pleased to announce Arts Council’s commitment to MAST Mayflower Studios, alongside support from Southampton City Council. Today’s news comes after months of hard work between Southampton stakeholders and gives us and the city something to look forward to and be proud of. We were really impressed with the strategic vision that Mayflower Theatre put forward – which combines their track record in the theatre sector and strong local partnerships with an ambitious new multi-art form offer that will put audiences, from Southampton and beyond, at the heart of this new creative hub. We can’t wait to see how this develops over the next few months and years.”
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes, Communities and Culture said, “Culture has become the beating heart of our city and it’s great to now be working with newly formed MAST Mayflower Studios to ensure this is felt throughout all of Southampton’s diverse communities. Mayflower Theatre Trust has an incredible track record within our city and I’m confident they will continue to support, grow and give opportunities to young people, local artists and organisations through their new home in Studio144. The confirmed funding from ACE is extremely welcome and an accolade to their commitment to culture and our city within these uncertain times. As we head into our journey towards UK City of Culture, MAST will be a great asset to help Southampton reach its full potential.”
The Trust have also unveiled their new branding for MAST Mayflower Studios