Final curtain for Dennis Hall, the man who saved The Mayflower Theatre

Dennis Hall

Dennis Hall

First published in Stage News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Entertainments Editor

HE IS the man who transformed a planned bingo hall into one of the country’s most successful theatres.

Now after 26 years at the top Dennis Hall, the chief executive of The Mayflower theatre, is to retire.

He will step down in October, having seen the theatre stage three of the UK’s biggest touring productions – Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – among dozens of other top West End and Broadway shows.

Dennis told the Daily Echo: “I have had a ball!

“But I feel that now is the right time to pass the baton on. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 26 years and am exceedingly proud of all that has been achieved.

“My personal highlights would include the three royal visits from Prince Charles, the Princess Royal, and Prince Edward and the experience of being the first provincial theatre to invest in a West End production – Buddy.

The 65-year-old arrived at the then Gaumont in November 1985.

“It was very apparent that the theatre was in a sorry state,” he said.

“Staff morale was low, which was not surprising as the current owners had been attempting to turn the place into a bingo hall.”

Following a 14 month closure and £4m refurbishment, The Gaumont was reborn as The Mayflower on February 24, 1987.

Dennis added: “Our priority has always been to provide the very best of the industry’s touring productions, and I believe that this has been achieved.

“We have succeeded in our aspiration to stage world class musicals, ballet, opera and drama. We have catered for a vast range of taste in our offering of plays, comedy acts, singers and bands, both rock and pop, with artistes from the whole spectrum of the entertainment world.”

“I have worked with Britain’s best producers with their remarkable productions.

“I must acknowledge my incomparable management team and staff and The Mayflower theatre trust chairman and board, who I have had the pleasure of working with throughout this incredible journey.”

The search is now under way for a new chief executive.

Comments (4)

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2:34pm Fri 10 Feb 12

George4th says...

Got to applaud the man, he's done a great job! We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic Theatre here in the City of Southampton.
(Especially when many of the locals do not avail themselves of the facility!)
Got to applaud the man, he's done a great job! We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic Theatre here in the City of Southampton. (Especially when many of the locals do not avail themselves of the facility!) George4th
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Fri 10 Feb 12

pod says...

George4th wrote:
Got to applaud the man, he's done a great job! We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic Theatre here in the City of Southampton.
(Especially when many of the locals do not avail themselves of the facility!)
I am probably one of many who would love to 'avail themselves of the facility'.
The hard fact is ticket prices, and I fully understand how much it costs to put on many of the fantastic shows, but when it comes down to the money in your pocket £25 + for one person (often more) is just not realistic. I can think of at least 6 shows that I wanted to see in the last year, but the cost is beyond me. Having said that, I am saving up right now for Oliver Twist , only hope that it is not sold out by the time I break me piggy bank
[quote][p][bold]George4th[/bold] wrote: Got to applaud the man, he's done a great job! We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic Theatre here in the City of Southampton. (Especially when many of the locals do not avail themselves of the facility!)[/p][/quote]I am probably one of many who would love to 'avail themselves of the facility'. The hard fact is ticket prices, and I fully understand how much it costs to put on many of the fantastic shows, but when it comes down to the money in your pocket £25 + for one person (often more) is just not realistic. I can think of at least 6 shows that I wanted to see in the last year, but the cost is beyond me. Having said that, I am saving up right now for Oliver Twist , only hope that it is not sold out by the time I break me piggy bank pod
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Fri 10 Feb 12

IronLady2010 says...

I'm off to see Sister Act soon, really looking forward to it!
I'm off to see Sister Act soon, really looking forward to it! IronLady2010
  • Score: 0

9:06am Sat 11 Feb 12

Condor Man says...

pod wrote:
George4th wrote:
Got to applaud the man, he's done a great job! We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic Theatre here in the City of Southampton.
(Especially when many of the locals do not avail themselves of the facility!)
I am probably one of many who would love to 'avail themselves of the facility'.
The hard fact is ticket prices, and I fully understand how much it costs to put on many of the fantastic shows, but when it comes down to the money in your pocket £25 + for one person (often more) is just not realistic. I can think of at least 6 shows that I wanted to see in the last year, but the cost is beyond me. Having said that, I am saving up right now for Oliver Twist , only hope that it is not sold out by the time I break me piggy bank
the ticket prices reflect the cost of putting on the shows sadly.

They seem to have a good balance of high brow opera and ballet mixed with West End shows. My only criticism is that they rarely show bands or have decent comedians on.
[quote][p][bold]pod[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]George4th[/bold] wrote: Got to applaud the man, he's done a great job! We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic Theatre here in the City of Southampton. (Especially when many of the locals do not avail themselves of the facility!)[/p][/quote]I am probably one of many who would love to 'avail themselves of the facility'. The hard fact is ticket prices, and I fully understand how much it costs to put on many of the fantastic shows, but when it comes down to the money in your pocket £25 + for one person (often more) is just not realistic. I can think of at least 6 shows that I wanted to see in the last year, but the cost is beyond me. Having said that, I am saving up right now for Oliver Twist , only hope that it is not sold out by the time I break me piggy bank[/p][/quote]the ticket prices reflect the cost of putting on the shows sadly. They seem to have a good balance of high brow opera and ballet mixed with West End shows. My only criticism is that they rarely show bands or have decent comedians on. Condor Man
  • Score: 0

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