COLCHESTER'S MP has written to the Culture Secretary calling for clarity on when Colchester's "much-loved" Mercury Theatre will be able to reopen to the public.

Will Quince has contacted his Conservative colleague Oliver Dowden expressing concern for the future of Britain's theatre industries and in particular Colchester's famous arts venue.

The Mercury Theatre's ongoing £9.8 million regeneration is set to be complete this summer, however the theatre has received no indication from the Government on when it may be able to reopen to showgoers.

In his letter, Mr Quince said: "I am writing to express my concern for our theatre industries and the future sustainability of theatres due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"As you will be aware, theatres are often the cultural and artistic bedrocks of our communities, and this is particularly the case in Colchester with our much-loved Mercury Theatre.

"The Mercury Theatre is currently undergoing an ambitious and exciting regeneration programme, which will see a circa £9.8 million extension and refurbishment of the building.

"Construction is expected to finish in August, with the theatre expected to open soon afterwards and people across Colchester looking forward to visiting the new and improved theatre once the doors open again.

"The theatre is anxious there is no specific timeline or advice available on when theatres like Colchester's Mercury Theatre will be permitted to open."

He added: "I have also been contacted by several constituents who work in the theatre industry who are deeply concerned about the industry's future making the case for specific Government financial support for theatres."

Mr Quince has asked for a written response on what is planned to support theatres and plans for reopening.

The Government has announced a £1.6 billion rescue package for arts venues.