Curtain rises on Mercury Rising at Colchester open day

Daniel Buckroyd Kath Hamilton and Steve Mannix Mercury Rising Open Day Sally Parkinson
  • Theatre launched public consultation as it unveils building transformation plans for the next four years
  • Hundreds of visitors visit the Mercury Theatre on local open day to view redevelopment plans

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester today holds the official launch of its Mercury Rising fundraising campaign at the House of Commons after a successful open day on Saturday which saw hundreds of people visit the theatre as plans were unveiled for the £8.7m redevelopment of the building.

Over the next four years the theatre plans to redevelop its building and site, and Saturday saw the launch of a public consultation and the new Mercury Rising fundraising campaign to raise the final £1.7m.

Visitors were treated to free tours of the building, followed by a presentation in the main theatre by Mercury Theatre Executive Director Steve Mannix and Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd. There were also drop-in theatre workshops, live music from local band Vox & The Box, and pop-up performances of Romeo and Juliet from the Mercury Theatre Young Company. Visitors also gave their feedback on the plans, highlighting what they would like to see in the new building.

Mercury Theatre Executive Director Steve Mannix said:

“We had a wonderful day at the Mercury Rising open day on Saturday. There was a real sense of community and excitement buzzing about the building; the feedback we received was very positive. People are really embracing this project and can see the benefits it will bring to the local area.”

Cllr Tim Young of Colchester Borough Council said:

“This is a very exciting development for Colchester. The Mercury Theatre plays a huge part in the life of the town, not only in terms of its productions but also through the programmes it offers to all members of the community. This redevelopment will help them to continue to grow.”

Cllr John Spence of Essex County Council said:

“The Mercury Theatre’s ambitious plans need and deserve the support of us all. The theatre already reaches out to many audiences of all backgrounds and all ages, and the development will enable them to build on that. Essex County Council is pleased to be participating in this exciting venture, which will see a first class theatre grow its impact still further. I’m certain that their fundraising efforts will go from strength to strength.”

In January the theatre announced an £8.7m plan to redevelop its buildings and site, improving and extending audience and production facilities, whilst also creating a learning and participation centre that will help to extend its educational and community work. Developments the theatre is planning include a bigger, lighter Front of House with much more space and a new roof terrace, more toilets, two new lifts, improved access for disabled people, an all-day café, and fully accessible and flexible spaces for community activities. The new facilities will open in 2020.

With support from Arts Council England, Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council, the Mercury has already raised £7m. Mercury Rising hopes to inspire trusts and foundations, businesses and business leaders, and the local community to help raise the final £1.7m.


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