It's a showstopper!

Mayflower Theatre reopened last night in spectacular style following an impressive £7.5m refurbishment.

The UK's largest regional theatre ‘went dark’ for the multi-million pound project back in June and, 16 weeks later, it’s open for business!

PHOTOS: Check out the inside of the Mayflower after its £7.5m revamp

The Daily Echo was among invited guests who attended a gala evening of music and entertainment commemorating Mayflower Theatre’s 90 years and celebrating the future with some of the next generation of stage performers.

The iconic Southampton venue looks stunning, completely repainted with a new red and gold colour scheme. All of the seats in the stall and circle have been removed and replaced with 1,659 brand-new, wider seats with improved sight lines.New environmentally-friendly LED lighting has been installed, the orchestra pit has been moved beneath the stage and accessibility has been improved, with better facilities for people with disabilities.

Southampton-born West End and Broadway star Earl Carpenter who is Patron of Mayflower Musical Youth Theatre compered the evening which featured fabulous performances from Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and two stars of this year's panto Dick Whittington - singer Joe McElderry and funny man Bobby Davro.

Local youngsters from the Mayflower's Summer Youth Project performed a Les Miserables medley alongside Earl - formerly Javert on Broadway, who sang Stars. Among other extracts from forthcoming 2019 shows were songs from Shrek the Musical and there was a taster of Wicked which opens next week.

Breathtaking acrobatic dance was performed by Barely Methodical Dance, formed by Hampshire's Charlie Wheeller.

Local choirs included The Big Sing and members of the Mayflower's staff were among 160 members of the SingForce and LoveSoul Choir.

It all ended on a high with the whole company on stage singing 'This is Me' from The Greatest Showman.

Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive of Mayflower Theatre, said: “This is without doubt the most significant refurbishment project that the theatre has seen in the last three decades and we were thrilled to lift the curtains on the new look tonight.

For us, this project is very much about ensuring Mayflower Theatre remains best in class not just for now, but long into the future.”

He added: "This is all about re-generation for the next generation," and thanked everyone involved in the work.

The multi-million pound project 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 and the venue contributes an estimated £75m to the economy.

The £7.5m investment has been welcomed by representatives from the public as well as the private sector.

Southampton Cultural Development Trust Chairman Brad Roynon said: “Mayflower Theatre doesn’t just bring in huge shows and hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city every year.

It also plays an important part in connecting new audiences with theatre and inspiring young people to get involved in the arts.

It’s therefore absolutely vital that we preserve this historic and culturally important venue to ensure it remains, and develops further, as a catalyst for the growth of arts and culture.”

Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture at Southampton City Council, Councillor Satvir Kaur said: “It’s fantastic to see the Mayflower theatre opening its doors again. This iconic building is an integral part of the extensive entertainment offering that can be found in Southampton.

"The theatre is one of the biggest outside of London and attracts people from a huge area. This essential refurbishment ensures that the venue itself lives up to the reputation that it has.”

The first official performance will be Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, which runs from September 28 and 29.

Tickets can be booked online at or by visiting the box office.