Mercury Theatre, Colchester gets green light for redevelopment

Mercury Theatre receives green light on exciting multi-million pound redevelopment project

Mercury Rising, the Mercury Theatre’s £8.9m refurbishment and extension project, has received unanimous approval from Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee. The project aims to modernise and transform our much-loved theatre, safeguarding its future for the whole community.

Mercury Theatre’s New Building

Planned improvements include:

  • Transforming the foyer so it’s a bigger, lighter space which is open all day
  • Redeveloping the main auditorium with extra seats
  • Making all areas fully accessible for the first time
  • Creating a new café where you can work and meet friends
  • Building completely new rehearsal and community spaces equipped to support the best new talent
  • Revamping and extending our backstage facilities so we can make even better theatre


Having received planning approval, the Mercury is now awaiting final confirmation of its Stage 2 funding from Arts Council England, due to be announced this November. If confirmed, this will provide the project with a vital £3.5m. 


Arts Council England, Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council are backing the project to the tune of a combined £6m. In the first year of the Mercury Rising campaign the Mercury has raised £790,000 including donations and pledges from audience members.

With several large trusts and foundations, sponsors, and strategic funders due to publish their funding decisions over the next few months, there is big fundraising news still to come as the Mercury is seeking to raise between £1.9m and £2.9m by 2021.

Building work for the project is due to commence in 2018, with the new building opening in early 2020. During much of 2019, all theatre activities will move off-site, with an exciting array of programming and our full range of participatory work continuing in a temporary home.

Those wishing to support the project can do so via the Mercury’s website – by sponsoring a bronze, silver or gold brick; adopting a seat; sponsoring equipment for the new building; becoming a Friend of the Theatre; becoming a Corporate Partner, and more:

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