COLCHESTER’S iconic Mercury Theatre will receive £125,000 as part of a plan to save it.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has today announced 925 cultural and creative organisations nationally are to receive a share of £107 million in grants and loans.

This includes more than £100 million, which has been awarded in grants through Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

It comes as part of a vital financial boost from the Government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund.

The Mercury Theatre, in Balkerne Gate, was described as putting theatre “at the very heart of the cultural life for the community”.

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It reaches more than 130,000 people in Colchester and the surrounding area each year through its vibrant and broad programme.

Steve Mannix, the Mercury’s executive director, says things are looking more “positive” for the industry following restrictions imposed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “We are delighted to have once again been awarded Culture Recovery Funding.

“The past 18 months or so have been traumatic for our sector and we are eternally grateful for the support we’ve received.

“These funds have supported us all to reopen with a modicum of confidence - to support our financial position at the box office as audiences have been hesitant to return and to support those artists and creatives that have had no income to return to work.

“Quite simply, without this support our doors and those of similar regional theatres and cultural venues across the UK would just not be open.

“But there are positive signs audiences and visitors do want to return.

“For many of us we are the beating heart of cities and town centres across the country.

“We look forward to playing our part in the revival of all of our local and national economies.”