Colchester Council have announced that they plan to reduce their grant to the Mercury by 25% – around £53,000 – over the next two years.
Alongside our mainstream popular programmes, we work with vulnerable children and adults, we deliver training and internships, and we bring people together and reduce social isolation. We have already worked hard to reduce costs and be more efficient. We’ll do our best to limit the impact on audiences, but this cut may mean we have no choice but to raise ticket prices and review some community activities from mid-2018.
The Council’s budget report says that this cut was “agreed with The Mercury” – though the theatre was consulted, we asked for the cut to be phased over three years, with the bulk of the cut in the third year. This would have given us time to adapt during a period of major capital redevelopment. Unfortunately we could not agree on this and the grant reduction will begin to come into effect from April 2018.
The Mercury and the Borough Council continue to work together on Mercury Rising, a capital project to improve the theatre buildings – the Borough Council is contributing £1m to this project from the New Homes Bonus, and we are working together to attract a further £7.9m to the project from other sources.
We’re completely committed to bringing excellent theatre to the people of Colchester and North Essex for years to come. Despite this setback we look forward to working in partnership with Colchester Borough Council and other partners in the future, in the interests of the public we serve.
Full details of the new funding, including this year’s agreement:
Essex County Council is also contributing £1m to the Mercury Rising project. As of April 2017, the Mercury no longer receives annual revenue funding from Essex County Council.