New Forest


Encore for HWB sponsorship of Mayflower

Hampshire accountancy firm and business advisors HWB Chartered Accountants is getting the show on the road once again this year after renewing its sponsorship of Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.

Chandler’s Ford-based HWB has signed a new two-year agreement to support the 2,271-seat theatre, the biggest on the south coast and one of the largest outside London.

HWB Director Michaela Johns said: “Mayflower Theatre and MAST Mayflower Studios are vital cogs in the city’s entertainment wheel, playing a crucial role in bringing culture to the public.

“We had no hesitation in demonstrating our continuing support for the organisation by extending our sponsorship of the Mayflower Theatre Trust for a further two years.

“The high-quality productions staged at Mayflower really do shine a spotlight on Southampton, boosting not only the city’s standing nationally and internationally, but also the many ancillary businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector.

“These West End calibre shows also provide us at HWB Chartered Accountants with the perfect opportunity to socialise with valued clients and contacts in a more relaxed environment than office surroundings.”

Mayflower Theatre was established in 1928 by theatrical group Moss Empires as The Empire Theatre before changing its name in 1950 to the Gaumont when bought by the Rank Organisation.

Southampton City Council bought the Commercial Road building in 1986, after a public enquiry, to prevent it becoming a bingo hall. Renamed Mayflower Theatre, it reopened in February 1987 with the Mayflower Theatre Trust established to manage it.

The Trust is also responsible for MAST Mayflower Studios in Guildhall Square, off Above Bar Street, Southampton, an additional cultural hub for the city.

More than 500,000 people visit the theatres each year, contributing over £70 million to the local economy in 2022/23.

West End shows coming up at Mayflower Theatre in 2024 include Wicked, Six, Pretty Woman, Disney’s Aladdin, Grease and Elf.

Mayflower Theatre Chief Executive and Creative Director Michael Ockwell said: “Sponsorship from businesses in our community is appreciated as we don’t receive direct funding from any external bodies and operate independently as a charitable trust.

“Therefore, this generous support from HWB Chartered Accountants is welcomed with open arms. We are extremely grateful to once again be backed by one of the region’s most prominent firms.

“This ongoing partnership enables us to not only maintain our Grade II listed theatre in Southampton but also carry out our community and education roles for both adults and children across our area.

“After operating costs, all surplus is invested into our education and participation programme to make arts and culture accessible across the city and communities we serve.

“The Engage Programme, for instance, is pivotal to our plan to make theatre the catalyst for social change in Hampshire. Theatre influences the way we think and reflects the needs and desires of our communities while contributing to education and literacy.”

Chartered Accountants HWB, based at Chandler’s Ford, near Southampton, provides business and personal tax advice.

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