Today at Full Council, it was proposed that Mayflower Academy Ltd be awarded a lease and grant to operate Studio 144 North, in the heart of Southampton’s cultural quarter. The proposals for the site put forward by Mayflower Theatre Trust, including the creation of the new Trust, have successfully been through a robust assessment process using detailed criteria, created jointly by Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and Arts Council England.
The Mayflower Theatre Trust has created Mayflower Academy Ltd to operate Studio144 North as a key cultural partner within the city, an integral part of Southampton’s UK City of Culture 2025 bid. Mayflower Theatre Trust’s bid clearly demonstrated its understanding of the strategic context and wider impact of culture and creativity across our City. This together with their proven track record, collaborative working, artistic credentials, and their ability to develop and deliver a strong community based cultural offer, made for a very strong and sustainable offer for the City. Their bid was supported by a significant number of letters of support from Southampton’s cultural organisations and institutions.
It is also proposed that Mayflower Academy Ltd will be awarded a council grant of £511,250 over two financial years, which will help to secure Arts Council England funding which had previously been awarded to Nuffield Southampton Theatre Trust. Mayflower Theatre Trust are also in conversation with Arts Council England about supporting this new venture.
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Culture and Homes at Southampton City Council, said: "It is fantastic to confirm we will be working with Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre Trust in Studio 144’s North building. This is great news for the cultural sector and our city. Southampton City Council has worked tirelessly alongside stakeholders to ensure we found the right partner with a sustainable plan, that would ensure this space remained a hub of creativity and culture for all our communities to benefit from. With a strong track record of delivery already within the city, Mayflower Theatre Trust not only shared an exciting artistic vision but evidenced a deep understanding of local, regional and national connections that will add value and opportunity to local artists and to our city’s cultural ambitions."
Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, Leader of the Conservative Opposition Group at Southampton City Council said: "We are very happy to support the granting of a long lease to the Mayflower Academy Ltd to operate the Studio 144 site. We have strong confidence in the Mayflower team to provide a great range of shows for our city and significantly enhance our cultural offer."
Phil Gibby Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said: "We’re really pleased that Southampton City Council has approved the approach to the lease agreement for the Studio 144 building. A number of exciting opportunities lie ahead as Mayflower Theatre Trust develops their plans to reanimate the space and bring a unique cultural offer to people in Southampton and beyond. We are in ongoing discussions with the Trust, and we hope to be able to give an update on our relationship in the next few weeks."
Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive of The Mayflower Theatre Trust said: "Mayflower Theatre Trust is delighted to be working with Southampton City Council and Arts Council England to bring the Studio 144 building back to life for our community. The building will be renamed MAST Mayflower Studios and will become a creative hub working with and supporting local artists and companies. We do not envisage the building being able to present performances until spring 2021 and we look forward to sharing our plans in more detail in due course."