Supporting Artist Development

Your continued support enables us to work with local and emerging talent in many different ways.

Associate Artists

The Mercury works with individuals to create a long-standing relationship through our Associate Artists programme. Whilst supporting them with a small amount of funding, the theatre also offers a network of professional creatives to engage with, and free space to research and develop their new work. The aim is to support artists to build a profile locally and nationally, allowing that individual to grow and develop a sustainable career path.

Chileya Mwampulo

Chileya Mwampulo Headshot

Chileya is a writer, director and actor and became a mercury Associate Artist in 2019.

‘My name is Chileya Mwampulo, I have been training in theatre for almost 10 years. Theatre to me is joy both professionally and personally; without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Colchester Mercury Theatre embodies what theatre is – a space you can unleash your creative powers; whilst provoking thought and making a change to our world. As a black woman the industry has only just started accepting voices like mine and many more diverse narratives. It is the beginning of the rest of my life and the Mercury is helping me on the next step of my journey – I wouldn’t have it any other way!’

Nicola Werenowska

Nicola Werenowska Headshot

Nicola is a successful playwright who has gained recognition on a national scale. She began her professional writing journey with the Mercury Theatre in 2002.

‘I joined the Mercury Theatre Playwrights group in 2002. It was a huge step. I’d wanted to be a playwright since my 1st play “20%” was runner up in the Royal Court’s Young Playwrights’ competition when I was 16 but the debilitating impact of my undiagnosed disability on my life left me with zero self-confidence. How could I be a playwright?

At the age of 29, after a serious breakdown, my dyspraxia was diagnosed and I began to write plays again. But I knew no one from the industry and didn’t have a clue. Then one day I saw a flier for the playwrights group and went along. That evening was life changing – to be in a group with other writers, to share experiences, to receive creative and practical support, I knew I was in the right place. Within 6 months, the Mercury commissioned my 1st play Davy’s Day as part of their Slammers Festival and since then they have commissioned 5 other pieces, including 2 community plays with the theatre’s Dis:play group, and partnered me on 4 ACE funded projects, including my award winning play, HIDDEN, which have all been produced. Most recently, the Mercury was lead partner on my play, SILENCE, which had a 10 day sell out run in the Mercury studio before going on a national tour. But it’s not simply about commissioning and producing my work, the Mercury have supported my playwriting journey in many other ways including dramaturgical support, playwriting workshops, being nominated to attend an Arvon Centre playwriting course, having opportunities to work with different groups across the theatre teaching playwriting and storytelling. I am honoured to be an associate artist at the Mercury and excited about continuing my writing journey with the theatre.’

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