Mayflower Open Day 2012

Saturday 11th August 2012

A great day at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre today, celebrating 25 years of this theatre’s existence as “The Mayflower”, presenting Opera, Ballet, Pantomime and major touring shows in this 1928 Deco building.

Andrew Ryan and I had a busy day meeting and greeting something like 1,750 people who visited the building in three sessions- 10am-12, 12-2pm and 2pm-4pm. We waved goodbye to the last visitors at around a quarter to five and retired to the dressing room to try and remove the shoes on a hot August day!

Great fun- we did a “spot” in each session, and toured the building saying hello and spreading the Panto gospel on each tier of this enormous building. We were joined halfway through by Paul Zerdin and his mate, Sam. Paul will be here for the panto season, and called in to help us celebrate and to give a taster of his panto performance to a few hundred of the guests here today touring backstage and front of house.

The Twins, suppliers of magic and mystery to Qdos and other pantomimes brought along some of their amazing sci-fi theatre props, as well as a spooky pair of scarecrows- one coming to life at odd times to surprise the unwary!

There were demonstrations of scenery, a visit to see how the Flies work, to see and work the Follow spots, the chance to watch a film on the history of the Mayflower and, of course to meet us Dames in full regalia! Lovely to see Lee Redwood here today, taking the day off from his busy schedule in Bournemouth- thanks for the extra photos shown here too!

Thanks to Robin Hancock and his team who made sure we were in the right place at the right time, and huge congratulations to the current Chief Executive Dennis Hall, who will be retiring on October 31st after twenty six years of service to this landmark building.

I’ve done panto here twice- each time Dennis was at the helm. Lovely to see pictures of Peter and myself from our first “Cinderella” here (with local lass Fern Britton in her first stage role!) along with the magical Dame Hilda Bracket- and pictures also of  our second visit with Brian Conley’s “Cinderella”. Great memories. Peter & I trapped in the lift dressed as huge Christmas Trees! Dame Hilda taking tea in our fourth floor chamber each interval…the fabulous crew here- Badger has been here man and boy for nearly 29 years I think- it is a magic place, and incoming CEO Michael Ockwell will be leaving Belfast to join a very exciting venue.

Goodbye Dennis- it has been a huge pleasure to do two pantomimes in your glorious theatre. Here’s to the next Twenty Five!

Nigel Ellacott

This page was last updated 26th August 2012

Free JavaScripts provided by The JavaScript Source