Mercury Theatre Colchester is extending three dedicated talent development programmes for promising and innovative playwrights, producers and directors from the east of England.
The programmes enable creatives to work with leading theatremakers and gain experience working in the industry.
Each programme is designed to nurture future talent. Evaluation statistics from the previous cohort show that programme beneficiaries have enhanced employability of up to 60%.
The Mercury Playwright Programme will mentor a group of writers through the process of creating a full-length play or piece of theatre, under the guidance of stage and screenwriter Kenny Emson.
The Mercury Directors Programme will support mentees through the through page-to-stage directing process under the guidance of Mercury’s Creative Director Ryan McBryde.
And the Mercury Producers Programme will provide an overview of the skills and craft of theatre producing, including setting up companies, pitching, planning, budgeting, fundraising, audiences, marketing, touring and press, led by Dilek Latif, Mercury’s producer.
“The success of our [Playwrights, Producers, Directors] PPD scheme has proved to us how vital it is that regional theatres support local artists and so we’re extending and reaching out for the applications from playwrights, producers and directors at any stage of their career who have a strong link to Colchester and or the wider Eastern region having originated, studied or lived here,” said McBryde.
“This year, our PPD offer will be enriched by unlocking additional expert knowledge from guest session leaders from our new Associate Companies: Graeae, English Touring Theatre, Paines Plough and Frantic Assembly,” he added.
“Partnering with these extraordinary, world-renowned theatre companies will allow us to broaden the scope of our work and provide further opportunities to springboard artists across our region.”
The nine-month-long programmes are set to run from July 2023 to March 2024.
Antony Stuart-Hicks, Talent Development Producer for the Mercury, said the theatre is looking for “creatives who are bold, ambitious and theatrically daring”, particularly those underrepresented in the industry, “whether this be by class, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality”.