Mayflower Education

When did the Theatre first open?

Mayflower Theatre opened on 22 December 1928 and it was first called The Empire. On our About Us page you will find more detailed information about the history of our Theatre.

What types of jobs are there in the Theatre?

Most of the full time jobs are in Finance, Administration, HR, Sales and Marketing, however we do have a large team of part time and casual staff in our Technical (backstage) and Front of House departments too. Visit our Careers page.

Where do you get your funding from?

We run as an independent theatre and operate as a charitable trust - we don’t receive direct funding from any external bodies, so all the money generated from tickets sales is invested back into the theatre, to support our community and education strategies and ensure the upkeep of our Grade 11 listed theatre.

How do you think you compare to other Theatres in the local area?

We are the largest Theatre on the South Coast, with over 2,300 seats, and a large stage. This enables Mayflower Theatre to stage bigger productions than many other local theatres. We are known for hosting professional West End musicals, and world class ballet and opera, as well as music concerts and live comedy by national and international artistes. We aim to complement the entertainment provided at other local venues.

Is the Theatre a 'producing house' or a 'presenting house' and what does this mean?

We are a presenting house. This means that the shows we stage are brought in by production companies who are predominantly touring nationally with their show, as opposed to putting on a show that has been produced, designed, and built specifically at Mayflower Theatre. Therefore at the Theatre we do not have make-up and wigs, costume and set design departments.

Do you have any other rooms in the Theatre that are available for hire?

Yes. The auditorium can be hired for private events and there are a range of services and packages available. As a minimum, it costs £7,500 for 24hr hire of the auditorium. We have a variety of conference suites and bars available for hire for meetings, corporate entertainment, parties etc. For more information on the hire of our suites please see our Functions section.

What connections does Mayflower Theatre have with the local community?

As a large part of the arts community in the region, we have many connections with a range of different institutions and establishments. Relationships with the local councils, schools, colleges and universities, small amateur dramatic and music groups are constantly being developed and maintained. We also like to link with local businesses as much as possible.

Is the Theatre involved in any educational projects?

Yes, we want to share our passion for theatre and the arts with as many people as possible so we offer lots of different ways for you to get involved. See our Get Involved section for more details.

What are your bestselling shows?

Large scale musicals, such as Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Les Misérables have been amongst our bestselling. Historically our Christmas pantomimes are always top sellers in our programme of events.

How successful is Mayflower Theatre?

Mayflower Theatre is the third largest provincial Theatre and one of the most successful independent Theatres in the country. However we are a Charitable Trust, and we also rely on public donations and good will.

How do you attract audiences?

Mayflower Theatre holds a database of patrons who we mail or email regularly. We produce a What’s On guide three times a year. We advertise shows across a wide range of media in the region to raise awareness and attract audiences. We regularly use digital, radio, press and outdoor advertising, and for some shows we might include a TV campaign. Where possible we target specific audiences with shows that might be relevant to them.

Do you have a certain policy regarding what your aims are for bringing in customers?

Our aims are defined by our mission statement:

  • To preserve and maintain this thriving Theatre for the local community and support drama, dance and opera in Hampshire by the provision of quality products
  • To increase the security of the Theatre by increasing its assets

Find out more in About Us.

How do you train your staff?

Every member of staff has the opportunity to attend an appraisal interview with their manager or supervisor each year. This is the chance to discuss how their jobs have been over the past year, what they have achieved and how they would like to develop their role over the coming year. Any training or development requirements are usually identified at this appraisal; however some further requirements may arise during the year. Each manager will complete a training request matrix for their team that the HR department will schedule into the annual training plan and budget, and organise training courses where appropriate.

How do you book shows?

Our Chief Executive manages all the programming for the Theatre. We programme shows up to three years in advance, working closely with producers to arrange dates, times and prices for performances.

Does your venue have any artistic preferences?

We strive to provide a variety of dance, opera, musicals and comedy to appeal to our wide audience. The mainstay of our programming is musicals.

Are there any distinctive features of your programme?

We are able to house large scale West End musicals due to the size of our auditorium and stage, such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Miss Saigon and Ice shows.

Do you have any press reviews?

Plenty! Every show has its own press night, where local journalists come to review the performance.



We will be undertaking a refurbishment of our Grade II listed auditorium in summer 2018. Please consider a donation to our auditorium appeal. Your help is essential in securing our future.