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Mayflower Theatre Trust & Mayflower Academy Limited

The entrances of both Mayflower venues, Mayflower Theatre on the left and MAST Mayflower Studios on the right.

Mayflower Theatre is an authentic, Grade-II listed Art Deco establishment in the heart of Southampton. A recent, major renovation in 2018 restored the theatre to its former romantic glory, creating the perfect backdrop for producers to bring popular West End musicals, dance, opera, drama, ballet and comedy shows to a local audience.

Audiences of 2,271 can be seated in comfort and style in a vibrant majestic setting, redolent of the 1920s era in which the theatre was built. Think Art Deco, jazz, trilbies, flappers, marcel waves and fancy automobiles. You get the drift…

In 1986, Southampton City Council set up a charitable trust to secure the theatre’s future as an entertainment, arts and culture venue for the local community to enjoy.

Surplus revenue from ticket sales and charitable donations goes to fund innovative, ambitious and inclusive community and education projects, to attract widespread interest and support from the performing arts sector and, of course, to maintain the glorious heritage of our unique, Grade II-listed theatre.

MAST Mayflower Studios is a multi-artform venue with three creative spaces, meeting rooms, and is a home for our resident partners.

Studio 1 is our largest space, with a capacity of 449 seats. We present a mixture of touring and produced work in this studio.
Studio 2 is our most versatile space, a black box theatre with bleacher seating for 119 which can be retracted to accommodate 170 standing. Studio 2 is often used for Artist Development, Community and Youth Theatre work, including scratch and smaller scale performances.
Studio 3 is our smallest space, most commonly used for workshops, rehearsals and Youth Theatre sessions.

Inspired experiences to bring dreams to life.

“To achieve great things, we must first dream.”
Coco Chanel

Our economic impact

Full audience in Studio 1 at MAST Mayflower Studios

More than 550,000 people visit each year to experience theatre & arts in a romantic, dramatic and immersive setting in our theatre, and a smaller more intimate setting in our studios. Our visitors contributed over £70 million to the local economy in 2022/23. After operating costs, all surplus is invested into our education and participation programme to make arts and culture accessible across the city and communities we serve.

Our environmental impact

Entrance to Mayflower Theatre from across the street at night.

We are committed to acknowledging and mitigating our environmental impact. We are dedicated to a comprehensive carbon reduction initiative, collaborating with our partners, colleagues, and suppliers to diminish our carbon footprint. We will publish our environmental impact and provide regular updates on our progress. By actively engaging in sustainable practices and fostering accountability, we strive to make meaningful contributions towards environmental preservation and inspire others to do the same. Together, we can achieve a greener future for our organisation and the communities we serve.

Our social impact

Teen girl as Captain Hook before full moon on deck of ship.

We offer so much more than stages for actors and producers to showcase their talents and delight audiences. In fact, we’ve more going on behind the scenes than you could possibly imagine.

We are a force for good. Here to ignite passion and creativity in people. To give them opportunities they never thought possible and bring them together in a love of theatre and the performing arts.

“The mission of the theatre, after all, is to change, to raise the consciousness of people to their human possibilities.”
Arthur Miller

To inspire creativity, bring dreams to life – and change lives.

Participation and education

Two teen girls spin a teen boy in a wheelchair as other teens watch them dance on colourful set.

Theatre influences the way we think and feel about our own lives, forcing us to examine ourselves, our values, our behaviour. It reflects the needs and desires of our communities while contributing to education and literacy. Everyone involved on both sides of the footlights – a broad mix of age, culture and life experience – share a strong passion for and appreciation of the arts. In today’s volatile cultural, economic and geopolitical climate, society needs theatre more than ever.

The programme is pivotal to our plan to make theatre the catalyst for social change in Hampshire.

Our Participation programme is a rich, imaginative and dynamic community offer that brings the magic and joy of theatre to every household in Hampshire, with our iconic, Grade II listed Theatre and modern state of the art Studios at its heart. It’s an agent for social change. And everyone’s invited.

Christmas Youth Production

Seasonally inspired drama and arts at MAST Mayflower Studios.
Young people from Hampshire and surrounding areas work with a team of professionals to stage a full-scale Christmas musical at MAST Mayflower Studios. A great opportunity for young people to discover what it’s like to stage a festive show at a professional theatre.

Elevate Ensemble

Free, all-inclusive theatre experiences for young adults.
A free two-year, part-time training programme to find, shape, inspire, champion and sustain the next generation of performers from under-represented and working-class backgrounds.

Reminiscence Cafés

Remember when…
Everyone loves a good story. And everyone has their own special story to tell. Reminiscence therapy – sharing life stories – is proving a popular and successful psychosocial intervention in dementia care, highly rated by staff and participants.

My Theatre Club

When price is the only thing stopping you!
My Theatre Club is a theatre ticket initiative for adults from under-privileged backgrounds who simply cannot afford to go to the theatre. Individuals identified through referrals and will be given free access to a Mayflower Theatre production and backstage tour.

My First Family Theatre Experiences

Free tickets to inspire a lifelong love of theatre.
By removing price and cultural barriers, we aim to seed a lifelong love and enjoyment of the arts for all the family with free workshops and theatre performances at Mayflower Theatre.

Theatre Access

Immersive theatre experiences for people with disabilities.
Touch tours to explore costumes, props, special effects and backstage areas before taking your seat for the signed, captioned or audio described stage performance.

New Directions

Restoring optimism and purpose among the young.
An artist collaborative project to bring purpose to the lives of schoolchildren at risk of social and educational inclusion.

Young Writers

Stagecraft for budding authors and playwrights.
Free weekly workshops in poetry, prose, storytelling and playwriting. Young people are able to present their work at writers nights, exhibitions and performances.

School Theatre Pass

Bringing theatre to the classroom.
Subsidised tickets and classroom resources for all year 6 pupils at local primary schools in deprived areas of the City.

Holiday Activity Fund

What did you do on your holiday?
Free theatre workshops at the theatre and out in the community to add drama and interest to school holidays and provide a refreshing discussion topic to open the new term.


Artist Development Programme.

From workshops and challenges to scratch night performances, PROPEL supports the development of artists at all stages and disciplines; performers, musicians, directors, storytellers and more.

Summer Youth Project

To inspire a new generation in the performing arts.
An ambitious life-changing programme to nurture a love for the performing arts by giving young people the opportunity to produce and perform in a full-scale stage musical.

Discover more about our Youth Projects

Summer Youth Project

Nurturing and inspiring a new generation in the performing arts

The Summer Youth Project (SYP) is an ambitious life-changing programme designed to nurture a love for the performing arts and create unique opportunities for young people to take part.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Walt Disney

It’s hands-on, immersive and character-building. It’s friendly, open and inclusive. It’s exciting, fast-paced and fun. It’s a safe space for young people to explore their creativity and find their place in the world of performing arts. A once in a lifetime chance to follow their dream.

Anyone aged 11-18 living anywhere in the county have the chance to take part in the production of a full-blown stage musical, performed live to an audience of over 2,000 people. Every year, young people from across Hampshire and nearby are invited to free auditions. 150 of them will be chosen to work with a team of professionals to stage a full-scale musical at the Mayflower Theatre.

“Everyone, regardless of whether they’re chosen, will draw something very positive from the programme,” says SYP founder and Mayflower CEO Michael Ockwell, “This isn’t just about a casting, it’s about creating a shared experience for a team of like-minded young people and setting them free to explore their love of and talent for the performing arts.”

SYP is the product of Michael’s own passion to offer young people the opportunity to engage in live theatre – he directs all the productions himself. Actors, singers, dancers, producers and stagehands get to discover the thrill of live theatre under the professional guidance of a West End veteran. Productions range from old favourites like Guys and Dolls to modern takes on popular tales such as Honk, a musical based on Hans Anderson’s timeless The Ugly Duckling.

The Summer Youth Project is an eagerly awaited annual staple in the lives of young people wanting to see if a career in theatre is right for them. They can find their niche, without having to commit to fee-paid drama school and college courses. Auditions are free and those chosen to take part pay just £225. Up to 15% of places are supported by the Mayflower Theatre’s Higher Education Bursary Scheme – a fund created to give disadvantaged people an equal chance of making it on the stage.

Adam Woodhouse, who made his theatrical debut in the 2017 SYP production Guys and Dolls, used his bursary to study Technical Theatre Arts at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and went on to stage manage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella in the West End. Adam’s just one of many SYP alumni now enjoying successful careers as actors, producers and stage crew.

Christmas Youth Production

“This is about so much more than giving kids an opportunity to showcase their talents in drama, music and dance.”

Our Christmas Youth Production invites local youngsters take part an authentic, immersive theatre experience, involving many weeks of rehearsals and 12 live performances. No experience is required, just an interest in learning more about the performing arts. Over 50 young people, some of whom have never even been to a show, get to audition for roles in a professional stage performance before a live paying audience.

“We invest considerable sums in our youth productions to make them as good as any professional touring show. This is our way of giving back to the community and creating real opportunities for our most deserving young people,” says Mayflower CEO Michael Ockwell, “The 2023 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous novella, A Christmas Carol, delivered 12 sell-out performances showcasing the magic of theatre to the widest possible audience and bringing people together from all backgrounds, all walks of life and all generations.”

Drama provides a holistic learning experience that reaches far beyond the stage, equipping our young people with vital life skills and fostering a sense of belonging, self-worth, and empowerment.

“Everyone’s welcome to just come along, be themselves and do something they love.”
Sara Scott, Executive Director, MAST Mayflower Studios

The cast of A Christmas Carol represented the widest possible social mix. “We actively seek out young talent, taking outreach workshops into local schools and colleges to find people with a passion for and interest in the performing arts,” says Sara Scott, Executive Director of Mayflower Studios, “Places are free, but it isn’t a free ride. They need to audition for parts, learn lines, sing and dance; perform complex group routines, rehearse every Sunday and commit to four months of hard work to get in shape to go out on stage for 12 live shows in December. Everyone’s welcome to just come along, be themselves and do something they love.

“For the few, it could be the beginning of an exciting career path to the West End, for the rest it’s a journey of personal growth and discovery, a chance to belong, develop relationships with like-minded people. It’s really motivating and inspiring to be able to reach into the community and give young people the freedom and space to explore their potential and go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.”

Alex Lockhart who played Scrooge said, “It is a truly wondrous experience that has changed my life in more ways than one and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to play such an iconic and loved role.’

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