THE beginning of a new year is, for me, always a time to reflect on how far we have come and on what we still have to achieve.

Here at the Mercury, we’ve had a fantastic year and I would personally like to say a huge thank you to our audience for your support over the last 12 months.

Our panto alone was seen by more than 30,000 people across 68 performances and it’s been thrilling to see so many happy faces heading in and out of the auditorium.

But it’s not all about the figures.

More than any other time of year, Christmas brings us together as a family and here at the Mercury we really are a family.

Last year we welcomed many new faces, from our new assistant wardrobe manager, Chantelle, to Rhianna and Emily in marketing, Abbi in development, and more freelancers and visiting creatives than I can shake a stick at.

It’s brilliant to see our team grow.

We’ve also been really fortunate to bring in our new sustained theatre associate producer, Dilek Latif, who joined us in the summer and will be working over the next two years to ensure our work on and off the stage really is open to all.


Dilek Latif

She began her career as a civil litigator in London before a dramatic change of path led her to acting, directing and producing.

Dilek is working with us as part of a scheme, run in a partnership with Arts Council England, Tamasha, the Mercury, Derby Theatre, the Dukes Lancaster and Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, which enables black, Asian and minority ethnic producers to gain experience in professional theatres.

She has joined our production department, whose job involves everything from booking artists and recruiting designers to arranging casting calls, as well as the mammoth task of creating budgets for all of our Made in Colchester shows.

They have to account for everything – every button, cable, make-up sponge, light bulb, poster, prop and set.

Dilek will be learning these hefty ropes under the guidance of our producer, Tracey Childs, and is really passionate about bringing more diverse artists into the building.

To that end, she has asked that anyone who considers themselves a diverse artist gets in touch to discuss how we can work in partnership or perhaps just to see who else is working in the area, even if you’ve never considered working in theatre.

I’d wholeheartedly second that request, as it’s my and our artistic director Daniel Buckroyd’s sincere hope our theatre really is open for all of Colchester.

Dilek Latif is the Mercury’s sustained theatre associate producer and can be reached by email on