A THEATRE’S bid for a temporary big top-style home has been supported by a trust set up to protect the arts.

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester plans to set up a temporary venue on Abbey Field in the town while its multi-million pound redevelopment is completed.

From mid-September to the beginning of January next year, the theatre will run a limited season in the big tent which will have more than 800 seats as well as a bar, kiosks, toilets and on-site parking.

Now the Theatres Trust, which is a national advisory body for theatres, has backed the bid.

A comment on the planning application said: “This will help support Colchester’s cultural offer.

“Whilst no internal detailed plans of the marquee have been provided, supporting information states that accessible places will be provided for wheelchair users and mitigation will limit acoustic breakout and disturbance to nearby properties.”

It added: “The proposal is consistent with other uses for Abbey Field, such as fairs and military festivals.

“As such, it would not compromise important remains which might be on the site or the nearby Roman Circus.”

The theatre’s £8.9 million transformation will, when completed, feature extra seats in the redeveloped main auditorium, a new café, new rehearsal and community spaces and revamped and extended backstage facilities.

Colchester Council will have the final say on the plans for the temporary big top.