Mercury at Abbey Field
Mercury at Abbey Field was a pop-up performance venue in the heart of Colchester that housed a range of performances whilst redevelopment work continued on the main building. This stunning fully heated, undercover, temporary theatre will was open September 2019 to January 2020, offering a varied programme of top-notch comedians, toe-tapping music, misbehaving puppets and culminating in our sparkling annual pantomime!
Thank you to everyone who visited us during our time at Mercury at Abbey. We hope you enjoyed our season in this wonderful temporary venue, and can't wait to welcome you to the newly redeveloped Mercury Theatre in September 2020! You can find out more information on our Mercury Rising redevelopment project on our 'Support' page.
What Is it?
Mercury at Abbey Field is a state of the art pop-up theatre that will house a limited season of shows during Autumn 2019 whilst the capital redevelopment of the Mercury’s current building takes place.
This temporary theatre has seating for over 800 seats, is completely undercover and fully heated with full bar, kiosks, toilets and onsite parking available to pre-book.
The Mercury at Abbey Field Autumn/Winter season includes a wonderful season of shows including our collaboration with Colchester Operatic Society Oliver! comedians including Ross Noble and Josh Widdicombe, music from Ronnie Scotts, Illegal Eagles and the Powerhouse Gospel Choir, celebrating Black History Month as well as musicals Madagascar, Avenue Q and our amazing annual pantomime Cinderella!
Where is it?
Our pop-up theatre is situated on Abbey Field and is accessible from Circular Road East Lower. For sat nav users, please enter the destination ‘St John’s Green Primary School’ and use the postcode CO2 7SZ
How Do I Get There?
The pedestrian entrance to the theatre is on Circular Road East Lower, it is just a 15-20 minute walk from the centre of Colchester.
There are several bike stands at Mercury at Abbey Field. We recommend approaching via Napier Road, and using the pedestrian entrance. You can download the Colchester Cycle map from the Cycle Colchester website, where you can also find useful information to help and support cyclists. There are numerous off-road cycle paths around the area. You can also hire bikes from Colchester station.
Colchester is only an hour from Liverpool Street railway station by train. The nearest station is Colchester Town Station. There are trains every hour to and from London; book your ticket on-line at www.thetrainline.com. Taxis are readily available from outside the station, or you can book a taxi with Panther Cars (01206 540540).
Walking from Colchester Town Station to Mercury at Abbey Field takes around 20 minutes, or you can hire a bike – Bike and Go
Mercury at Abbey Field is served by the 63 / 63A bus, which stops on Circular Road South (Ypres Road stop). You’ll be able to see the tent, and just walk up Circular Road East Lower to the pedestrian entrance.
The Pownall Crescent stop on Mersea Road is a ten minute walk from Mercury at Abbey Field. On arrival at the stop, walk down Pownall Crescent – then cross the road and walk up Circular Road East Lower. This stop is served by services 8, 50B, 67, 68, 69A, 175. Services 8 & 67 are the most frequent.
We have created a dedicated car park with 200 spaces for Mercury at Abbey Field audiences. Parking tickets cost £1.50 and must be purchased in advance. This can be done when booking online or in person from Mercury Tickets and you will be sent a ticket which must be displayed on your dashboard in order to enter the car park. Please note the £1.50 parking vouchers are for our on-site car park inside the venue gates, and do not apply to the grass areas of Abbey Field, Butt Road or Napier Road.
The entrance to the car park is via Circular Road East Lower (CO2 7SZ), opposite St. John’s Green Primary School. Please allow plenty of time to park as it may get busy at peak times. Please note that all vehicles are left at customers own risk and no vehicles can be left in the on-site car park overnight.
If you have not purchased parking in advance, please don’t turn into Circular Road Lower East as there is limited turning space. Alternative Colchester Borough Council run car parks are available at Napier Road and Butt Road (prices vary) less than 10 minutes walk from the venue. Find out more on this here.
Accessible parking – we have a limited amount of free parking for blue badge holders within the Mercury at Abbey Field car park. These spaces need to be booked in advance, either in person at Mercury Tickets or by telephone on 01206 573948.
If your group is arriving by Coach, we have a drop off point on Circular Road East Lower, next to St Johns Green Primary School.
Please make sure coach drivers aware that this is a drop-off point only and coaches will need to park elsewhere. We can advise that there is a Colchester Borough Council run car park on Sheepen Road that accommodates coaches. This car park costs £5.50 for up to 6 hours (prices may change) http://www.colchester.gov.uk/article/13035/Sheepen-Road-Lorry-Park
Where can I buy tickets?
Tickets can be purchased online from our website, by calling 01206 573948, or in person by visiting Mercury Tickets in Red Lion Yard.
What does the theatre tent look like?
We’re incredibly proud of our amazing tent!
What will the seating be like?
The seats on the flat infront of the stage have some padding. The tiered seating in the tent is made of bespoke moulded plastic – these are very comfortable but not padded. If you feel you would like a little extra something please feel free to bring your own cushion.
The very back row of the grandstand (row Y) is a bench seat, rather than individually moulded seats. Each space has its own cushion and these have been generously spaced. It also has a fantastic view.
Where should I sit?
This is the seating plan for the venue, we have a capacity of over 800 and there will be ushers on hand to help guide you to your seats.
Since opening this exciting new space we have made a number of adjustments to our original seating plan. These changes have been made in response to audience feedback and we hope they will improve your experience in our temporary pop-up venue.
The seating at the front of the auditorium (stalls) is all on one level (rows A-Q). Access to this area is entirely step-free and we have 8 spaces in this area specifically for patrons with access needs. Spaces for wheelchairs are marked on the seating plan with the wheelchair symbol.
The grandstand seating at the rear of the auditorium is accessed via steps with handrails. This seating is tiered with a row on each level (rows R-Y). there are steps at either end of each row.
Due to the layout of the venue, there are some seats with a slightly restricted view (due to the tents king poles and the camber at the back of the stalls). These seats have been priced accordingly and are marked on the seating plan as restricted view
What bathroom facilities do you have?
There are plenty of toilets at Mercury at Abbey Field, these are luxury mobile toilets and are accessible via the front of house tent, so you don’t have to venture outside to access them. We also have a dedicated unisex accessible toilet.
Do you have a cloakroom?
We aren’t able to offer a cloakroom facility at Mercury at Abbey Field as all small bags and coats can be taken to your seats. We would recommend that you do not bring larger items such as suitcases, but if necessary please inform our staff before your arrival and we will do our best to assist you.
What should I wear?
You are welcome to dress as casually or smartly as you like. While our exciting temporary venue is fully heated, it is still a tent in the middle of a field, so please do dress appropriately for the weather that day, and rest assured that there’s plenty of mulled wine, tea and coffee available inside. We would also recommend considering practical footwear. We have solid flooring in the majority of areas inside the tent, but there are some carpeted areas where the level of the field creates undulation.
What are your opening hours?
The theatre and bar will be open 90 minutes prior to a performance
Will the venue be accessible?
The venue will have level access across the site using festival matting and ramps. We also have a wheelchair available to help anyone who needs support to get into the venue from the car park. We have 6 dedicated spaces for wheelchairs in the stall area of the auditorium, and our staff will always be on hand to help.
I have an assistance dog, can I bring them?
Yes – we welcome assistance dogs at all performances, please just inform us when booking. Your dog can come into the show with you, or can be looked after by our team.
Will you have an assisted listening system?
Yes, we will use the same Sennheiser equipment we use at the Mercury Theatre. Please book this when you book your tickets.
Will you have an audio described performance of your pantomime?
Yes – this will take place on Saturday 21st December at 1pm. There will be a touch tour beforehand at 11.30am, this must be pre-booked, click here to get your tickets.
Will you have a captioned performance of your pantomime?
Yes – this will take place on Thursday 19th December at 7pm. We cannot yet confirm the position of the captioning unit as we are exploring options but as soon as we do we will look to update.
Will you have a relaxed performance of your pantomime?
Yes – this will take place at 12pm on Sunday 8th December. As usual with these performances, attendees will benefit from a relaxed environment. Audience members will be free to come and go as they please throughout and make noise if they want to. We will also send out a social story to all bookers a week before the performance.
Will performances go ahead if it rains or snows?
Yes – we will do our very best to ensure every scheduled performance goes ahead and adverse weather conditions should not affect this. However in extreme circumstances if we did need to cancel a performance to ensure the safety of performers and audience members we have systems in place so that we can contact customers booked for that particular show.
Will there be a bar and catering offer?
There is a full bar offering all of the drinks and snacks you would expect as standard at the Mercury, and all set up to take card payments. You have the option to beat the queues and pre-book interval drinks. Ice cream, sweets and savoury snacks will also be available.
Can I pre-order merchandise and ice creams?
Yes – you can pre-order programmes, ice creams, flashing toys and drinks packages before the show whilst booking your tickets.
Will I be able to buy tickets or merchandise on the door?
Yes absolutely, although we would always encourage you to book in advance to save time and avoid missing out.
I am attending the pantomime with young children – how can I make my visit as stress-free as possible?
This year you are able to pre-order an “Easy Peasy Panto Package” that will include a limited edition tote bag, two flashing toy vouchers, four ice cream tub vouchers and a programme. These are available to book on our supplementary items page once you have selected your tickets for the performance. You will be making a saving of £9 if you bought these items on the day, and £5 if you pre-booked the items separately. You will be able to exchange your voucher at the kiosk on arrival ensuring you save time and beat the queues.
Can I still use my gift vouchers/theatre tokens?
Yes, you can still use gift vouchers or National theatre tokens by calling our box office on 01206 573948.
What happens if I’m late to the show?
You will still be able to gain entrance to the site and our ushers will escort you to your seats at an appropriate point in the show.
Will the venue be noisy for local residents?
We don’t expect there to be any problems with regards to noise, as we’ve undertaken a variety of noise impact assessments for the site. However, in the event of any concerns we have a dedicated facilities helpline: 07587610596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The sound levels will be constantly monitored and there will not be any late night activities.
Will the space be available to hire?
We will not be able to accommodate any additional performances, but we may have some daytime hire opportunities available at the most exclusive venue in town!
Our Abbey Field Centre, the former Garrison Gym just across the field, is available for hire and further information can be found here: www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/about-the-theatre/hire-mercury-theatre/hiring-the-abbey-field-centre