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Colchester Mercury’s Daniel Buckroyd is leaving to join Northcott Theatre in Exeter

PUBLISHED: 13:36 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 14 May 2018

Daniel Buckroyd who is leaving the Colchester Mercury this summer for Exeter Northcott Theatre. Picture: ROBIN CANTRILL-FENWICK

Daniel Buckroyd who is leaving the Colchester Mercury this summer for Exeter Northcott Theatre. Picture: ROBIN CANTRILL-FENWICK

Archant

Colchester Mercury artistic director Daniel Buckroyd, the man who has championed Mercury Rising, the theatre’s £8.7 million renovation project, will be leaving in August to take over the running of the Exeter Northcott Theatre.

Artistic director Daniel Buckroyd at the House of Commons launching Mercury Rising the £1.7m appeal to complete the theatre's £8.7m rebuilding programme. Picture: SALLY PARKINSON Artistic director Daniel Buckroyd at the House of Commons launching Mercury Rising the £1.7m appeal to complete the theatre's £8.7m rebuilding programme. Picture: SALLY PARKINSON

Daniel’s tenure at the Mercury, during the last six years, has seen a 20% growth in audience numbers and concerted programme of engaging young people, community groups and championing new writers – particularly after the redevelopment of Mercury’s studio theatre.

Daniel established Made in Colchester in 2013, programming 51 in-house productions, directing 20 of them, including UK tours of The Butterfly Lion, End Of The Rainbow and Turn of the Screw and the regional premieres of Betty Blue Eyes and Clybourne Park.

He has written four record-breaking Mercury pantos, and directed the hugely popular UK tour of Spamalot, which also visited South Korea where it won an award for Best International Musical. Since 2013, in Colchester and on tour, over 500,000 tickets have been purchased for Made in Colchester productions. In 2017 the Mercury was shortlisted for Regional Theatre of the Year by The Stage newspaper.

Hywel Simons and Dan Cohen with director Daniel Buckroyd in rehearsal for Colchester Mercury's production of Michael Frayn's classic farce Noises Off. Picture: ROBERT DAY Hywel Simons and Dan Cohen with director Daniel Buckroyd in rehearsal for Colchester Mercury's production of Michael Frayn's classic farce Noises Off. Picture: ROBERT DAY

Daniel has also played a leading role in planning the Mercury’s redevelopment project, which is due to start later this year, with an extended and refurbished building due to open in 2020, housing new production and rehearsal facilities, a dedicated creative learning space, increased main auditorium seating capacity, all-day cafe/bar, and a creative businesses hub.

Daniel said: “I’m immensely proud of the work that we’ve produced and presented over the last six years, both here at the Mercury and on tour around the UK, and I’m grateful for the support of the theatre’s board and funders, the creativity and dedication of the Mercury’s amazing staff team and the imagination and talent of the many hundreds of artists who’ve joined us on the adventure.

“The redevelopment of the theatre signals an exciting moment of renewal for the Mercury and the town. With the project now on a strong footing and about to move into its next phase, this is the right time to create space for a fresh artistic vision from 2020, building on the successes of the past few years.

Carli Norris and Mercury artistic director discusss a scene in rehearsals for Turn of the Screw. Picture: ROBERT WORKMAN Carli Norris and Mercury artistic director discusss a scene in rehearsals for Turn of the Screw. Picture: ROBERT WORKMAN

“The people of Colchester built the Mercury nearly 50 years ago and continue to treasure their theatre, so it’s been a privilege for me to contribute to the cultural and creative life of the town and to receive such support from our loyal audiences.”

Kathleen Hamilton, chair of the board of trustees said: “The Mercury Theatre has benefited greatly from Daniel’s artistic leadership, and we wish him well in taking up his new post at the Northcott. Daniel’s vision and practice have developed the role and scope of the work of the Mercury over the past six years and the growth of audiences and participants is testimony to this.

“As the Mercury embarks on its major capital work we are in a strong position to build on Daniel’s particular and much appreciated contribution.”

Daniel will continue as Artistic Director of the Mercury Theatre until August 2018. The theatre is fully programmed until the summer of 2019, and Daniel will continue to write this year’s Mercury pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The Mercury Theatre Board will now begin work with partners to determine a timetable for recruitment of a new Artistic Director. In the interim, the Mercury and the major capital project will continue to be led by executive director Steve Mannix. Steve will be joined by Tracey Childs, who will step up to the role of Interim Executive Producer and joint chief executive during this period. Tracey has been the Mercury’s producer since October 2014.

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