MAST Mayflower Studios announces £2million Arts Council England Funding with Key Appointments and Associates

MAST Mayflower Studios, the new arts venue for Southampton and a cultural hub for the city, announced today that Arts Council England have committed a further £2,035,170 investment of funding to contribute to the development of the venue for the next two years including creation of opportunities for artists to produce work at the venue while developing Engage, its education and outreach programme.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to confirm this major commitment to MAST Mayflower Studios for the next two years as they work to establish themselves as a nationally significant creative hub and centre of cultural excellence in Southampton.  

We’re very grateful for the support and collaboration of Southampton City Council and other regional stakeholders in getting to this significant milestone. Their commitment was a key factor in our decision to invest.  

MAST's plans are at the heart of our new strategy, Let's Create, where communities and artists alike are central to the vision of an organisation and its work - where the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of cultural experiences.

This is an exciting time for the city of Southampton and its arts and cultural offer, as they progress with their 2025 UK City of Culture bid. We look forward to seeing the impact of MAST’s work over the coming months on the people of Southampton and beyond.”

Southampton City Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture commented: “This is really exciting news! I’m delighted to see that the Council’s financial commitment has helped to lever substantial external investment to benefit Southampton’s communities and the cultural and creative sector, which all helps to contribute to our economic and social recovery following the pandemic.”

Following this excellent news for Southampton, MAST Mayflower Studios has also shared the appointments of new key personnel and partners. Aidan Grounds takes up the role as Creative Producer and Victoria Briggs as Artistic Director and will both join Executive Director, Sara Scott. The venue will also be working with key national companies including Frantic Assembly, Fat Rascal Theatre, Burnt Lemon Theatre and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company giving local people the best opportunities to connect with exciting and innovative arts.

Aidan Grounds comes to MAST from the role of Executive Producer at Leicester's Curve Theatre and said “I am thrilled to take on the role at MAST at the start of its story and an exciting time for culture in Southampton. Southampton is the city that welcomed my grandparents when they arrived from the Caribbean and India in the late 1940s, and I have wonderful childhood memories as my grandmother took an active role in so many of Southampton’s communities.

After a year of darkness for artists, the theatre industry and wider society, and as we continue to go through another challenging lockdown, I hope that the formation of MAST provides some light for our city. We shall strive to be a creative and vibrant home for Southampton’s artists who are bursting with talent; a place for new plays, musicals and relevant stories to be nurtured and brought to life; and we shall produce theatre of the highest quality made with, by and for the city so that we can entertain and share our experiences both locally and beyond.”

Victoria previously worked with arts organisations including Battersea Arts Centre, The Roundhouse, artsdepot, Salisbury Playhouse, Forest Forge Theatre and Riding Lights Theatre Company, and said, “I’m so excited to be joining MAST, I can’t wait to start developing work with the brilliant artists and diverse communities in Southampton, the region, and beyond. This is a unique opportunity to be part of creating something very special in the city. We already have some exciting plans, and I really can’t wait until we can open our doors and share them with everyone.

One of my first priorities is to reach out to the artists, producers and performing arts companies in Southampton and the region. We want MAST to offer support to the creative community and therefore it’s vital that we start by listening to what that creative community actually needs.”

Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive Mayflower Theatre and MAST Mayflower Studios said, “I am thrilled to welcome Aidan and Victoria who will work with us on defining the artistic vision of MAST. Victoria and Aidan will help us develop an ambitious and exciting multi-genre programme of events.”

MAST Mayflower Studios is funded by Arts Council England and Southampton City Council who play a paramount role in supporting, preserving and maintaining the new venue, so they can provide inspiring arts experiences in the community. MAST Mayflower Studios will be a key partner in Southampton’s bid to become City of Culture 2025.



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