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The theatre, which reopened in 2021 after a £11.9m refurbishment, will use the money to create new rehearsal and meeting room spaces.

Image of Mercury theatre
Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Simply C Photography

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester has been awarded a capital grant of £500,000 due to local demand for its facilities.

The theatre, which reopened to the public in June 2021 after an £11.9m refurbishment, will use the money for an extension that will create new rehearsal and meeting room spaces.

The grant comes from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) with funding from the government's Getting Building Fund.


Sarah Dance, Chair of SELEP, said the project to extend the theatre would enable it to "continue to flourish, to expand its reach and to become more environmentally sustainable".

She added: "It will also provide local creative businesses with further oppurtunities and open doors to skills and jobs for the local workforce."

Victim of own success

Steve Mannix, Executive Director of Mercury Theatre, said since reopening in 2021 "we have been the victim of our own success and have simply run of of space".

He continued: "Over 320,000 people have visited Mercury in this time for shows, events or workshops – more than we ever dreamed of."

Mannix added that the new investment would enable the theatre to work with the local community to develop "new tangible employment skills, health and well-being sessions, community workshops and build new partnerships across the city".

The planned extension will also provide a new home for Stagetext, the charity for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences.

Stagetext, which relocated to the theatre in August 2023 as part of Arts Council England's Transfer Programme, will use the new space as its national headquarters.

Melanie Sharpe, the charity's CEO, said the new space and equipement "will strengthen Stagetext's partnership with Mercury by providing more opportunities to provide deaf access to audiences whether in person or through live streaming."