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Mercury Creatives FAQ’s



Who is this programme for?

  • Emerging entrepreneurs
  • Pre-start enterprises
  • Established SMEs who are experiencing barriers to growth
  • Freelancers
  • Local and regional artists, theatre-makers and those associated with the performing arts


What business/practice/ area of specialism’s are allowed to apply?

We accept any practice that has an alliance to the performing arts. These can include:

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Architecture (Set / Carpentry / Scenic art)
  • Arts Administration
  • Crafts (Wardrobe / Make-up artist / Wigs / Prop-making / Armoury)
  • Creative Practitioner
  • Design (Set / Sound / Lighting)
  • Digital (Film / Tv / Video / Radio / Photography)
  • Live arts / visual arts
  • Performing / directing
  • Actor
  • Choreographer
  • Circus
  • Comedian
  • Composer
  • Dancer
  • Director
  • Dramaturg
  • Musician
  • Producer
  • Puppeteer
  • Singer
  • Production / Technical:
  • Stage technician
  • Lighting technician
  • Sound technician
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Stage management
  • Writers (Composer / Poet / Script / Reviewer)

This is not an exclusive list


What is a small to medium enterprise?

Small to Medium Enterprises or SME can include anything from individuals (sole traders) to small businesses. As long as you have between 1-250 members of staff and have a turnover of less than £50 million, you are an SME.


Do I have to be from the Performing Arts Sector to apply?

We are looking for participants from all creative businesses and they don’t have to be within the performing arts sector. However, you do have to be allied with the performing arts and residing in Essex, East Sussex, Suffolk and Kent. For example, if you are a photographer, in order to apply for the programme you might take photos of dance.


How does the Mercury Theatre select successful applicants?

There is a two-stage application process. At stage one, the selection committee appraises every application that we receive against our selection criteria. To be considered eligible, you have to be a creative small to medium enterprise, freelancer or self-employed artist allied to the performing arts. We also look for evidence of commitment to business growth and creative development; and what difference being on this programme will make to your practice/business and creative development. If you make it through to stage two, we will invite you to an interview to meet our selection panel and talk about your vision for the future and from this create a diagnostic needs assessment to set goals and targets for your development.

The interview process is not designed to be daunting, just be prepared to discuss your business and your aims for the future.

What if I already receive state aid?

Even if you already get state aid, you are still eligible to apply.



How can I get an application form?

You can apply online here: ‎

If you would like a hard copy posted to you, please email or call 02106 577006 ext 814.


How long does the application process take?

We expect to confirm successful applicants in September 2020 ready to launch the programme in early October 2020 following an interview process designed to identify barriers to development and programme eligibility.


Is there a waiting list?

Unfortunately, there is not a waiting list for this programme. However, if you are unsuccessful you can re-apply for the programme next year.


Is this my only opportunity to apply for the programme?

No, we will be opening applications for further cohort of creatives to start in February 2021, so please keep an eye on our website and social media for details of application deadlines.


What if my application is rejected?

We are not able to offer feedback but we actively encourage you to keep continue to work on your practice and will welcome a future application to the programme.


How many times can I apply?

You can apply once per application period. If rejected, you cannot re-apply within the same period.



Do you provide any funding for my business?

This project doesn’t provide funding for businesses but is a free business support project through mentoring, events and the opportunity to apply for workspace.

We will endeavor to support successful applicants to appropriate funding streams.


What are the compulsory elements?

To attend all 24 hours of allocated mentoring sessions over the year by prior arrangement with your mentor.

We strongly encourage attendance at all networking and business showcase events.


What is the workspace at the Mercury Theatre?

As part of Mercury Rising project, a purpose-built flexible workspace designed to enable collaborative innovation will form part of the new shared office. 15 of the Mercury Creatives creative small to medium enterprises, freelancers or self-employed artists will have the opportunity to apply for access to the workspace in the new Mercury Theatre.

Successful applicants will receive the following:

  • State of the art production, studio, rehearsal and digital facilities
  • Shared open plan workspaces
  • Meeting and conferencing facilities
  • Optional business direct phone line


  What support resources and services do you offer at Mercury Theatre?

  • Affordable desk space within a creative environment
  • Access to theatre facilities (studios, rehearsal rooms and digital)
  • Office facilities
  • Broadband access
  • Optional business phone line
  • Registered business address
  • Business Development
  • A team of on-site support
  • One-to-one business support
  • Peer-to-peer networking events
  • Business Growth Plan
  • Workshops and seminars
  • One to ones with industry experts
  • Profile raising events and campaigns

Will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the project?

The Mercury Creatives programme will continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, adjustments will be made to ensure the safety of all parties, such as restricting face to face contact in favour of online events and mentoring sessions. The Mercury Creatives team constantly review the situation and will make adjustments based on guidance from UK Theatre and the Government.

Will Brexit affect the project?

The funding from the European Regional Development Fund has been secured for a period of three years so Brexit will not impact the programme.


If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Joseph Rawlings or Elodie Gilbert from the Mercury Creatives team.

Please email us on or call us on 01206 577006 ext. 814.



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