A PERFORMING arts complex has welcomed its new creative director ahead of a £9 million refurbishment.

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester has announced the appointment of experienced director Ryan McBryde.

He will start his new role next month when he oversees the productions of Oliver! and Cinderella in a temporary venue on Abbey Field, COlchester, which is being set up while redevelopment work is carried out on the theatre.

Ryan, who has worked throughout the UK and Europe on everything from musicals to pantomimes, will oversee the company’s artistic talent and development programmes, as well as the theatre’s in-house Made in Colchester productions.

Having staged two critically acclaimed performances at the popular venue, Ryan already has a strong relationship with the Mercury Theatre and hopes his tenure as creative director will breath fresh ideas into the soon-to-be renovated complex.

Ryan said: “The Mercury Theatre is a regional engine-room, producing world-class theatre.

“I am extremely honoured to be joining their inspiring team and when we throw open the doors to our new building next year, we want it to be bursting at the seams with artists, members of our community and creativity.

“I cannot wait to start generating stories that reflect the hearts and minds of the varied communities who populate our vibrant region.”

Ryan will be working alongside executive director Steve Mannix and executive producer Tracey Childs, as part of a newly-announced leadership team tasked with spearheading the theatre’s creative vision.

Mr Mannix said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the Mercury.

“I am delighted to be able to welcome Ryan to the Mercury team and to continue working Tracey after the success of our work together this past year.

“With the capital redevelopment well underway and our off-site season about to begin, this new leadership structure is designed to fit the needs of the Mercury as we look to a hugely exciting future, balancing both the artistic and strategic needs of the organisation.”

The Mercury Theatre’s redevelopment, entitled Mercury Rising, will see the current site renovated. It is expected to open in autumn 2020.

For more information head to mercurytheatre.co.uk.