A PETITION to save two Southampton theatres has been launched.

City bosses have been asked to step in to save the future of Nuffield Southampton Theatres’ two venues – the NST City in the cultural quarter and the Nuffield Theatre at the University of Southampton.

The news comes as last month the theatres’ operator went into administration after being hit by the pandemic.

Administrators are now looking to find a buyer for the organisation that runs the two venues.

But 12,081 people have already signed an online petition asking Southampton City Council to save the future of the theatres in the city.

Southampton casting director Annelie Powell is behind the initiative and said she is aiming to present the petition to city councillors.

The 36-year-old added: “I’d like them to commit to continuing the work that has been done so far- commit to leasing the building to someone who will make work with and for Sotonians. As a city we’ve always had a history of building things. Ships, Spitfires, Ford – why can’t we continue to build our theatre work?”

The news comes as civic chiefs are working to bid for Southampton to become City of Culture 2025.

NST City  was described as the “jewel in the crown” of  Southampton  multi-million pound Cultural Quarter. The building is owned by the city council. Last month the local authority said the site will remain in the ownership of the city council and it is not up for sale.

Cllr Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for homes, communities and culture at the city council, said: “It’s great to see the level of support for NST’s work both locally and nationally; I welcome Ms Powell’s petition and would like to thank all those that signed it, showing how much culture is valued in our city. Southampton City Council has an unwavering commitment to ensuring the building continues to play a central role in our city’s cultural delivery and serves our local communities. We will support the administrators in charge of NST holdings, and work with partners to find a way forward with the £1.9m of funding ring fenced by Arts Council England, capitalising on the incredible talent and passion we have in the city, and delivering the best long term sustainable cultural outcomes in this space for Southampton.”