Michael Ockwell has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Mayflower in Southampton. Michael takes over the post in November from Dennis Hall who has held the position for the past 26 years, and who is retiring on 31 October 2012.

Michael, initially a successful actor, then moving into theatre management, is currently the Chief Exec of the Grand Opera House in Belfast. Prior to this he was Managing Director for HQ Theatres, and earlier in his career he worked as CEO for Hetherington Seelig Theaters and the Wycombe Swan and as Theatre Manager for Stoll Moss Theatres.

Michael said, “Under the leadership of Dennis Hall, The Mayflower has become one of the most successful and respected regional theatres in the United Kingdom and it is a great privilege to be taking over from him as Chief Executive. My time as Chief Executive of the Grand Opera House has been tremendously rewarding and I am very excited to be able to bring my experience and passion to my new role. I have enjoyed my time in Northern Ireland and would like to thank the Trust and my team in Belfast for their support and commitment. I am thrilled to be able to take The Mayflower on to the next stage of its journey and look forward to working with the fantastic team in the theatre.”

Isobel Gatward, Chairman of The Mayflower Theatre Trust said, “The Mayflower Theatre has grown over 25 years under the guidance of Dennis Hall, to become a great success story for Southampton and the South. It has been a fabulous ‘First Act’ which I have had the privilege of sharing. When Dennis announced his retirement earlier this year, The Mayflower Board was faced with the challenge of finding the right person for Act Two, and Dennis is a hard Act to follow.

I am delighted we have chosen to appoint Michael Ockwell as the new CEO. The Mayflower Theatre Trust Board believes his vision for the continued success of The Mayflower will enrich our contribution to the local community and our place in the Entertainment World, bringing new and exciting delights to the South.”

The Mayflower Theatre, currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, is world class in staging the best musicals, ballet, opera and drama for the people of the south. Retiring Chief Executive, Dennis Hall has prepared a quality programme of shows well into 2014 that includes Starlight Express, The Nutcracker, The Mousetrap and the return of the ever popular family pantomime.