Applications open for Mercury Creatives: Support for freelancers, artists and creative businesses across the South East struggling with the effects of COVID-19.

Rehearsals for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre. One participant holds a script and gives direction to a younger participant while a third watches on.

Mercury Creatives, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, has already provided much needed business support and professional development to 70 small to medium arts businesses, freelancers and self-employed artists linked to the Performing Arts. Having launched in February 2020, the creatives have been able to benefit from the support of their own personal mentor, as well as upskilling and networking to ensure their survival in the industry during the current ever-changing parameters for the performing arts. Existing mentees have found that the current time has provided an excellent opportunity for personal development, reflection and review of existing practices and structures with their dedicated programme mentor:

Scott Hurran, Freelance Director and Mercury Creative said:
“The programme could not have come at a better time for me in terms of my career and during lockdown. My mentor has been phenomenal is supporting my development and guiding my career and helping me achieve small and big goals. It’s also helping me re-evaluate and refine my practice for the better. The fact that it is such a luxury and privilege to be a part of the Mercury Creatives programme doesn’t escape me for a second.”

Due to COVID-19, we have decided to re-open applications for the programme so that any freelancers struggling with the continued effects of the pandemic are able to access support from some of the best mentors in the industry across the South-East and East Anglia.

Steve Mannix, Executive Director at the Mercury,
said of the Mercury Creatives programme:
“We are delighted that coupled with this support from the European Regional Development Fund we have already been able to support 70 creative businesses to grow and develop their offer in these challenging times. When we recently asked our existing mentees about the health of their businesses during the pandemic, 18% of enrolled Mercury Creatives stated that they would likely have ceased trading if it were not for the help of their mentor, and 68% stated their business would be considerably less healthy as a result of the pandemic.

“Our creatives have shared that the support received from the Mercury Creatives team has been 100% positive and we are determined to widen this opportunity for our final cohort of this dedicated project. The programme is open to every artist, freelancer or business in Essex, Suffolk, Kent and East Sussex, provided their business practice is allied to the performing arts. We are committed to providing excellent opportunities and facilities to those that demonstrate the potential to benefit from becoming a Mercury Creative.”

Once enrolled on the free, year-long programme, Mercury Creatives beneficiaries will receive a full programme of 24 hours mentoring support for 12 months. This support will consist of tailored advice and guidance in terms of business and product/service development, creating recovery plans, access to showcasing events, and also act as a gateway to new networks and markets with signposting to business support.

With the reopening of our Theatre building fast approaching, following an ongoing £10 million capital project, the 100 creative businesses taking part in Mercury Creatives will also have access to our new production facilities, studio, rehearsals spaces and digital facilities that are vital to the growth and development of their businesses and ideas. Additionally, all beneficiaries will have the opportunity to apply for one of 15 workspaces in the theatre’s new open plan office, central to the Mercury’s new building, due for completion this Spring.

Applications re-open for Mercury Creatives close on 9th February 2021 at 11pm. Find out more.

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