Colchester’s Mercury Theatre announces £8.8m redevelopment plans

The Mercury Theatre with members from Colchester Borough Council launch Mercury Rising, a renovation

The Mercury Theatre with members from Colchester Borough Council launch Mercury Rising, a renovation of the theatre. - Credit: Su Anderson

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester has today announced a major redevelopment scheme – boosted with an invitation to apply for £3.5m of national funding.

Artists' impressions of £8,8m plans to redevelop Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Artists' impressions of £8,8m plans to redevelop Mercury Theatre, Colchester - Credit: Archant

Under the proposed scheme, all areas of the building will be fully accessible for the first time.

If the £8.8million project is successful the new facilities would open in 2020, while the Mercury could also extend its educational and community work.

Today the theatre also revealed it was one of only 16 organisations to reach the second stage of applications to Arts Council England’s large capital funding programme.

It means as well as an immediate grant for £478,000 to develop the plan, the theatre has also been invited to apply for a £3.5m grant from the Arts Council.

Mercury Theatre, , as it is now

Mercury Theatre, , as it is now - Credit: Archant


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The Mercury is also hopeful that, subject to a formal decision, Colchester Borough Council will manage the build and will provide £1m of match-funding.

Steve Mannix, executive director at the Mercury, said: “The Mercury Theatre is at a tipping point. Audiences are growing, our artistic ambitions have never been higher and we are transforming our learning and participation work in the local community.

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“This is a moment of possibility which, if seized, can unlock major creative benefits for Colchester, Essex and East Anglia as well as the wider theatre economy, cementing the Mercury as a centre of national standing here in the East of England.

“We’re thrilled Arts Council England has recognised the case for major investment at this critical time.”

Artists' impressions of £8,8m plans to redevelop Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Artists' impressions of £8,8m plans to redevelop Mercury Theatre, Colchester - Credit: Archant

The plans include a rebuild and extension of the front of house area, introducing an all-day café/bar and creative space.

Rehearsal rooms, currently in town centre office accommodation, will be replaced with purpose-built facilities, while the Mercury’s workshop and wardrobe facilities will also be improved.

The project is subject to public consultation and planning permission.

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