HAMPSHIRE accountancy firm HWB is again ‘treading the boards’ this year after renewing its sponsorship of Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.

HWB, which has its head office at Chandler's Ford, has signed a new two-year agreement to support the 2,270-seat theatre, the biggest on the south coast and one of the largest outside London.

HWB director Michaela Johns said: “The entertainment world has faced an extremely challenging two years because of the pandemic and we wanted to show our ongoing support for our local theatre by extending our sponsorship.

“There are very few other regional theatres constantly putting on such high calibre major productions and we want to help that tradition continue.

“Mayflower Theatre is also playing a major role in Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 which, if successful, will put a world spotlight on our city,

“This sponsorship is also a very good match for us as Mayflower Theatre shows – many straight from the West End such as Les Misérables, Footloose, Six, Joseph, Jersey Boys and The Lion King– provide excellent opportunities to meet valued clients outside the usual workplace setting.”

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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, a new cultural hub for the city.

Mayflower Theatre chief executive Michael Ockwell said: “We run as an independent theatre and operate as a charitable trust. We don’t receive direct funding from any external bodies, so we are extremely grateful to be supported by such a leading business as HWB.

“All the money generated from tickets sales is invested back into our theatre, to support our community and education strategies and ensure the upkeep of our Grade II listed theatre.”

Chartered accountants HWB provides business and tax advice.

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