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Studio takeover ratified

On Friday 2nd October, the Mayflower Theatre Trust Board met to ratify that Mayflower Academy Ltd (MAL) will officially take over the operation of Studio 144 North in Southampton, formerly the Nuffield Theatre, under its new name of Mast Mayflower Studios.

Last week, Arts Council England confirmed a commitment of £905,804 which will support the development of the new cultural hub. This investment, along with Southampton’s City Council’s grant of £511,250 will enable the venue to establish itself as a new business and ensure that the appropriate plans and governance structures are in place to develop a diverse cultural programme to engage audiences from across Southampton.

It is hoped Mast Mayflower Studios will 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 16th 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 demonstrated its understanding of the strategic context and wider impact of culture and creativity across Southampton.

The building will be handed over to MAL later this month with the aim that Mast Mayflower Studios will be able to present live performances from April 2021. The desire is to create a creative hub working with and supporting local artists and companies.

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.

“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.”

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