As a £7.5 million refurbishment project sees Mayflower Theatre closed for 12 weeks, the importance of the venue to the city’s economy has been revealed.
Figures released by the theatre, based on calculations from leading industry organisations, show that the theatre contributes in excess of £75m to the economy. Money brought in from sales of tickets, the amount the theatre spends on goods and services from other businesses and the additional spending that its customers bring all contribute to the impressive figure.
Theatre-goers can easily spend an additional £30 per person in the city if they go for dinner and drinks before a show and factor in parking, taxis or public transport. Those travelling from further afield can often spend even more if they book a hotel stay.
Cleaning firms, electricians and drinks suppliers are just some of the businesses that are supported by the venue.
Salaries paid to the theatre’s 230-strong workforce, many of whom are local and go on to spend their earnings in the area, also contribute to the impact the theatre has on the economy.
Denise Edghill, interim service director for growth at Southampton City Council, said: “We’ve always known that Mayflower Theatre is vital to the city’s economy but these new figures really reinforce it. Having top-class leisure and cultural facilities helps us to attract people and businesses to the area, boosting our economy even further. Personally, I know of one multi-million-pound company that moved to the city because Mayflower Theatre gave Southampton the edge over other potential locations.”
Mark Hansford who owns Gusto Lounge restaurant just a few hundred metres from the theatre, said the venue’s closure for refurbishment has highlighted just how much custom it brings to neighbouring businesses.
“We’ve definitely noticed it’s been quieter in the evenings since the refurbishment started. Like all the businesses along this road, we have a great relationship with the theatre which has meant we’ve known about the project for a long time and have been able to work together to plan ahead. We’ve brought in some fun new events and offers for the summer which have helped to fill the drop-off from theatre-goers.
“Inevitably we’ve seen a quieter summer but we very much support the refurbishment project. Investment in the theatre’s future means it will continue to bring visitors to Southampton for decades to come, which is good news for my business.”
Michael Ockwell, chief executive of Mayflower Theatre, said: “It’s extremely rewarding to see just how big an impact the theatre makes on the economy. As well as providing life-long memories and cultural experiences, we’re creating employment for local people and contributing to the prosperity of the city.”
Mayflower Theatre is undergoing a 12-week refurbishment. The project marks the theatre’s biggest makeover in the past three decades and will ensure the theatre remains best in class and continues to draw in hundreds of thousands of people to the city. Every year more than 500,000 people visit Mayflower Theatre.