COLCHESTER’S popular Mercury Theatre has announced the location of its temporary home whilst multi-million pound redevelopment works are completed.

From mid-September to the beginning of January 2020 the theatre will run a “limited season” at a pop-up theatre on Abbey Field– the large green owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Theatre bosses say the new pop up venue will provide an increased capacity of more than 800 seats, a bar, kiosks, toilets and on-site parking.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for business, 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.”

The move to a temporary venue marks an important milestone for the Mercury Rising capital project, which has so far raised £9.2 million of its £9.7 million target.

Supported with funding from organisations including Arts Council England and Colchester Council, demolition work began in October, with the Balkerne Gate site set to shut in May.

Its new temporary home is a large temporary structure designed to operate as a theatre pavilion.

The full-programme of shows for the temporary venue is yet to be announced, however, performances of pantomime Cinderella have been confirmed.

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 to 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.”