Youngsters help capture moment in time

Budding performers in Southampton have helped to capture a snapshot in time. Young people taking part in Mayflower Theatre’s summer youth programme have helped to place a time capsule, which will be kept at the theatre forever to commemorate this year’s multi-million-pound refurbishment project.

The theatre is currently undergoing its biggest makeover of the last three decades. Seats are being replaced, new eco-friendly lighting is being installed and the auditorium is being completely repainted as part of the £7.5m project.

The time capsule will pay tribute to the refurbishment project, as well as give a glimpse into life at the theatre in 2018.

Among its contents is a picture of staff who work at Mayflower Theatre, a commemorative keyring marking the venue’s 90th anniversary and a pin recognising the theatre as one of The Sunday Times Best Not for Profit Organisations for 2018. It also contains the programme for this year’s summer youth project, which has seen more than 100 children come together to put on a performance of Les Misérables Schools Edition over the holidays.

Kabir, aged 11 said:

‘It’s exciting to think that someone will open this in the future and see the programme for our performance. When we look back at photos and objects from 30 years ago we see how much has changed so it’ll be really interesting to think what people will make of our objects when they see them.’

Michael Ockwell, chief executive of Mayflower Theatre, added:

‘These young people are the future of the theatre so we felt it very fitting that they played a role in this time capsule. The theatre has stood firm in the city for 90 years now and this current refurbishment project will ensure we stay an important part of it for decades to come, this is our regeneration for the next generation.’

The time capsule will be sealed and displayed at the theatre when it reopens on September 28, with a performance from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on the Friday and Saturday of that week.

The venue opened on December 22, 1928 as the Empire Theatre, becoming The Gaumont in 1950 and eventually Mayflower Theatre in 1987. It remains the largest theatre in the south of England and attracts 500,000 visitors a year. It employs 230 staff.