The Mayflower Southampton is one of Britain's largest and most succesful theatres largely down to two things their CEO, Dennis Hall and the constant supply of top rate musicals. This No 1 touring venue  is independent and receives no subsidies or grants and yet, along with Birmingham Hippodrome, consistently delivers the highest turnover, profits and admissions of any UK theatres outside the West End . Dennis Hall was recruited by Southampton City  in late 1985 to oversee the conversion of the Gaumont into a full time theatre and unlike Bournemouth where Dennis was Entertainment Manager responsible for the BIC, Pavilion Theatre, Pier Theatre and Winter Gardens, Southampton wanted him to establish a Company to own the theatre and then transfer it to a Trust. Dennis could see the potential of a 2300 seat venue; even though Southampton as a City is small, the immediate catchment area is huge. The nearest touring theatres the Pavilion in Bournemouth and Kings Southsea were both suffering from lack of investment and no longer caught the interest of the major producers. The Mayflower opened its doors in Feb 1987 after a £4m revamp and after a tenuous start, having to build an audience as well as relations with the producers, struck gold with the first of many pantomimes produced by Paul Elliott. For almost 25 years under the direction of Dennis the theatre has gone from strength to strength - managing on its own income to undertake the many extensive structural improvements which make the venue such a pleasure to visit, not just for the audience - but for the crew, musicians and stars who perform for 48 weeks of the year. Hear some of the thoughts of the man that put Southampton firmly back on the theatrical map.........



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The Provinces


The Fringe

The Landor Theatre orignally opened in 1994 as The Cage and took on its current name in 1998. Robert McWhir, the current operator and Director took over in 2000 and his first production was "Side By Side With Sondheim".  

Under Robert's leadership this small (60 seater) fringe theatre has grown in importance over the years and now has both national and international recognition as an innovator for both new works and intelligent and creative workings of more traditional shows. Even Sondheim gave his blessing to the reworking of Follies which required his approval in order that the orchestra could be replaced by a grand piano. The productions at the Landor frequently attract the participation of well known names from the world of musical theatre, a recent production "Tomorrow Morning" starred Jon Lee (Marius in Les Mis) and Julie Atherton (original Sophie in Mamma Mia and more recently in Avenue Q). This production was video recorded by The Trust and has been added to the National Archives at the V&A.

The Landor is leading the way with new and exciting productions many of which are appropriate for the smaller west end and provincial venues. Listen to Robert McWhir talk about his tenure at the Landor....



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Robert McWhir Dennis Hall Logo 2 v&a
Landor Theatre
Mayflower Southampton Empire, Early show.. Landor clip Aladdin -a wish come true Listen to Jon & Julie Theatre History London Palladium