A COLCHESTER theatre has been shortlisted for a prestigious award which celebrates theatrical achievements around the world. 

The Mercury Theatre has been shortlisted for The Stage awards, which launched in 2010.

According to The Stage, the Mercury “showed what theatre can achieve” with its “comprehensive, joined-up approach to inclusive accessibility” for its I Really Do Think This Will Change Your Life. 

Chief executive, Steve Mannix, said: “We’re over the moon to have made the shortlist for the Innovation Award at The Stage Awards.


“This show was our first example of our ambition to develop talent from page to stage, debuting the work of Emma-Louise Howell, an alumna of our Mercury Playwrights scheme.

“The show, written as a neurodivergent stream of consciousness, employed a local and neurodivergent production team and with accessibility at the heart of the process, resulted in a more inclusive production.

“We’d like to thank our writer/performer Emma-Louise Howell, our director Hetty Hodgson and our producer Dilek Latif as well as the entire team that worked so hard to bring this production to the stage.” 


A statement on why the theatre had been shortlisted, read: “I Really Do Think This Will Change Your Life is the first example of the theatre’s ambitions for ‘page to stage’ talent development and debuted the work of Emma-Louise Howell, a graduate of Mercury’s playwriting development programme – a nine-month creative development course championing talent from the East of England. It showed innovation in its root-to-tip approach to accessibility." 


Its innovative approach presents the production in a relaxed environment, where audience members are able to move around, exit and re-entre as well as making fidget toys, sunglasses and ear defenders available. 

“It served as a fascinating blueprint for future theatre making,” said The Stage in its statement. 

The awards ceremony will take place on January 29 2024 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London.