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Colchester Mercury Theatre unveils pop-up venue for next year's panto

PUBLISHED: 14:50 17 January 2019

Artist's impression of the new-look Mercury Theatre. Work on the refurbishment will start later this year. During construction plays will be staged in a new pop-up venue at Abbey Fields. Picture: MERCURY THEATRE

Artist's impression of the new-look Mercury Theatre. Work on the refurbishment will start later this year. During construction plays will be staged in a new pop-up venue at Abbey Fields. Picture: MERCURY THEATRE

Archant

The Mercury Theatre will be kick-starting their next season in a new pop-up performance theatre at Abbey Field, close to the Colchester barracks.

Cinderella, the Colchester Mercury's 2019/2020 pantomime will be staged in a pop-up venue at Abbey Fields as work on the theatre building gets under way. Photo Mercury TheatreCinderella, the Colchester Mercury's 2019/2020 pantomime will be staged in a pop-up venue at Abbey Fields as work on the theatre building gets under way. Photo Mercury Theatre

Theatre bosses have announced The Mercury at Abbey Field, a state of the art popup theatre that will house a limited season of shows during Autumn 2019 while the major redevelopment of the current theatre takes place.

The move to a new temporary venue marks a major step for the Mercury Rising capital project, with just less than £500,000 of the £9.7 million target, left to be raised.

The Mercury’s Made in Colchester 2019/2020 pantomime will be Cinderella, the ultimate rags-to-riches tale. The creative team will be taking full advantage of this wonderful large space, offering a unique festive experience for families from their first step inside.

Steve Mannix, executive director at the Mercury Theatre said: “Now that our redevelopment project is underway, it is incredibly exciting for us to finally be able to reveal the location of the Mercury’s new home for our Autumn/Winter 2019 season.

“Cinderella is going to offer our audiences a wonderful chance to experience all the sparkle of a classic Mercury Panto, elevated to new heights within such a unique setting. Mercury at Abbey Field has been made possible as a result of the ongoing partnership between the Mercury Theatre and Ministry of Defence who own the site.”

Mr Tim Young, Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council said: “This announcement shows the hard work to push forward this ambitious project to deliver a refurbished theatre and create a hub for local performing arts is bearing fruit. This is an exciting time not just for the Mercury, but for arts across the borough. I am delighted we are not only getting closer to a massively revamped venue but also that audiences will still be able to enjoy some of the amazing shows staged by the Mercury while the work takes place.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, added: “Art can, and does, happen anywhere – so it’s wonderful to see Mercury Theatre deliver this idea through its new pop-up theatre. Working with a range of local partners, including the Ministry of Defence, the new pop-up venue at Abbey Field will ensure the Mercury can continue to deliver great shows for local audiences during the main theatre’s transformation.”

The pop-up venue will be constructed on the Abbey Field sometime in September/early October. The new space will include an increased seating capacity of over 800 seats and will be completely undercover, with full bar, kiosks and toilets. The site will have dedicated parking and coach drop off points and is accessible for those on foot from Circular Road East Lower.

Cinderella will run from November 30 to January 5 2020.

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