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Early Career Training Programme

Serious about working in Theatre? Here’s a chance to kick-start your career!

Early Career Training Programme

The Early Career Training Programme is a bespoke programme of professional development open to cross-disciplinary artists over the age of 18.

There is no upper age limit or pre-requisite qualifications – only that you have made a firm commitment to a career in professional theatre.

We welcome applications from actors, directors, designers, writers, movement artists, actor/musicians, digital/video artists, and other specialists, who will work together as a training ensemble.

We welcome applicants from traditional and non-traditional backgrounds including those pre and post drama school; university graduates; those undertaking a career change; those returning to the industry; as well as those just starting out.

For artists invited to participate there is no fee; however, it is requested you commit to attending all the sessions (except in unforeseen circumstances). This is a 9 month programme – Sessions run on Monday and Tuesday evenings and all day Sunday every other week, starting at the end of November.

The Programme consists of a combination of ‘Craft Workshops’ developing fundamental theatrical skills; ‘Nuts and Bolts Workshops’ developing professional practice; and ‘Provocation Workshops’ – masterclasses led by guest artists (including Mercury Theatre Staff, Associate Artists, and external specialists). Note: in some instances these Workshops will be opened up to members of the Essex Theatre Artist Network.

Recent guest artists have included:

  • Olivier Award nominated actor and director Kelly Hunter
  • Olivier Award nominated writer-performer Caroline Horton
  • Olivier Award winning playwright Joel Horwood

There will be opportunities to develop and present work as an ensemble at specific points throughout the programme.

The programme is open to artists in the Arts Council East region (Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey and West Sussex).  Attendance to all sessions is mandatory, except in special circumstances, so travelling to Colchester is necessary.

The Early Career Training Programme 2017-18 is now closed to applications.

Please keep an eye on this page for details of opportunities in 2018-19.



Applications for the Early Career Training Programme are now closed.

We’re delighted to have received a record number of applications this year and our team are looking forward to reading these over the coming weeks as we consider who to invite to interview.

Please note that since advertising the programme, we’ve decided to adjust the timescale slightly, with interviews late Nov / early Dec and sessions starting straight after Christmas.

We’re really excited by the positive response from the local creative community to the Talent Development projects that the Mercury Theatre has been piloting over the last couple of years, and as we plan for how we’re going to take this activity forward, particularly through the theatre’s imminent capital project, we’re taking a moment to talk to previous years’ participants to ensure that the experiences we’re offering are the best they can possibly be.

Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director

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