We are delighted to share that we have secured vital support with £250,000 from the Government Culture Recovery Fund. Arts organisations across England were able to apply to Arts Council England to receive a lifeline from the £257m survival fund and The Mercury is one of over 1,300 theatres, museums, orchestras and music venues to receive a boost from the fund for next six months.
The fund, administered by Arts Council England, is part of an unprecedented investment of £1.57 billion into the arts sector, in order to protect and support cultural organisations around the country as they grapple with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
This support offers the cultural and heritage sector a crucial chance to regroup and rebuild and will enable us to plan reopening our doors to audiences, following a £9.9m redevelopment.
Steve Mannix, our Executive Director, said;
“This support from the Cultural Recovery Fund delivers a vital temporary lifeline for all of us at The Mercury and the sector as a whole.”
These funds will not only enable us to pay the wages of our staff team to next April, but to launch our new youth and community programme, commission local artists and creatives and help to at long last throw open the doors to our brand spanking newly refurbished theatre.
These funds don’t solve everything, but offer a glimmer of hope. For the first time in many months we all can start to look to the future with a sense of optimism and creativity!”
We are keen to ensure our cultural offer remains relevant to the essential future economic well-being of the town. The Mercury alone contributes £3.8 million annually to the local economy and we will use this contribution to ensure that we can retain the vital skillset of our staff and implement training and additional COVID safety equipment ahead of the theatre’s safe reopening in the Spring of 2021.
In addition to overcoming the operational challenges of the pandemic, this support will enable us to continue to provide a creative online programme and launch an exciting pilot youth and community programme, continuing to grow our offer to 5- 25 year olds in Colchester and surrounding communities and our work with schools.
Will Quince, MP for Colchester, said:
“I am delighted to hear that the Mercury Theatre will be receiving £250,000 of government help through the Cultural Recovery Fund.
The Mercury Theatre is a critical cultural asset not just for Colchester but for the wider region. Having previously written to the Culture Secretary and Chancellor to raise my concerns with the financial circumstances of the Mercury, I am pleased to see that this Government understands the challenges facing UK theatres. This support grant is in recognition of the importance of the Mercury Theatre to enriching the cultural offering here in Colchester.”
Councillor Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council said:
“This is fantastic news not just for the Mercury Theatre but for Colchester as a whole.
The cultural sector plays a huge part in the fabric of Colchester and the Mercury Theatre is one of the key venues at the heart of our reputation of being a centre for the arts. The council has played a key role in supporting the Mercury Rising project and this funding will help keep the theatre supporting our young and budding artistic and creative talent despite the stark challenges councils, theatres and others are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This announcement adds to the support the borough is receiving from this fund – with the council’s own museum service receiving £84,500 to support their fantastic work as well, and the Arts Centre being awarded £51,986.”
We look forward to welcoming you back to our new home and to playing our part in ensuring that Colchester’s local economy can once again thrive and continue to embrace the arts, culture and heritage as a vital part of the town.