Mercury Theatre, Colchester
The Mercury Theatre from the Roman Wall
|Capacity||Main Theatre 499
Studio Theatre 80
|Production||The Hired Man, The Butterfly Lion, The Opinion Makers|
The Mercury Theatre is a theatre in Colchester, producing highly regarded original work under the title "Made in Colchester" and also receiving touring shows. The theatre has two auditoria, and the Artistic Director is Daniel Buckroyd. The theatre also contains The Digby Gallery, which showcases local art.
In 1968, the Colchester New Theatre Trust was formed to identify a site for a new theatre and to oversee its constructions. The Mercury Theatre, designed by Norman Downie, was opened on 10th May 1972, after a successful fund-raising campaign, supported by a large grant from the Borough Council. It originated with the Colchester Repertory Company, formed in 1937.
The theatre was initially structurally identical to the Salisbury Playhouse, though the Playhouse was later extended.
David Buxton, the first Artistic Director, was succeeded by Michael Winter in 1984. After David Forder’s retirement as Administrative Director in late 1990, Michael became Artistic Director and Chief Executive. In May 1994, Pat Trueman succeeded him in the joint role, until 1998. Adrian Stokes joined as Associate Director in 1995 and initiated the Community Education Programme.
In 1998 Dee Evans arrived as Chief Executive and Gregory Floy as Artistic Producer. Together, in 1999, they formed the Mercury Theatre Company with Gregory as Artistic Director. In 2012 the Company was superseded by Made in Colchester, introduced by newly appointed Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd and Executive Director Theresa Veith.
Productions at the Mercury have included the work of Martin Clunes, Gwen Taylor, Simon Gray, Toby Longworth, Ingrid Lacey, Michael Grandage, Mike Poulton, Michael Deacon, Colin McCormack, David Oakes, Donald Freed
2014 Made in Colchester productions
- Dial M for Murder by Frederick Knott
- Betty Blue Eyes by Alan Bennett, Malcolm Mowbray, Daniel Lipman and Ron Cowen
- Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
- You Can Always Hand Them Back by Roger Hall and Peter Skellern
- The Wall by Roger Waters
- Friend or Foe by Michael Morpurgo
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
- Dracula by Fitzrovia Radio Hour
2013 Made in Colchester productions
- Garage Band by Andy Barrett
- The Hired Man by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall
- Intimate Exchanges by Alan Ayckbourn
- The History Boys by Alan Bennett
- Quadrophenia by Kenneth Emson
- The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
- The Good Person of Sichuan by Bertolt Brecht
- Man to Man by Manfred Karge
- The Opinion Makers by Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon
- Sleeping Beauty by Jonathan Petherbridge