THE Mercury Theatre has been handed £500,000 to build an extension after it "ran out of space". 

The theatre, which reopened its doors in June 2021 after a £11.9m refurbishments, said the existing space had already been “maximised” with the extension being required to meet the demands of artists, charities, and community groups.

The £500k grant was secured by The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), one of 38 partnership bodies across the UK which encourage job creation and sustainable growth.

While the funding itself is from the government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ - a £900 million national programme supporting economic growth in areas affected by the pandemic.

Gazette: Boss - Steve Mannix, Executive Director of Mercury TheatreBoss - Steve Mannix, Executive Director of Mercury Theatre (Image: Web)

Charity Stagetext – which helps deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing audiences – will use the new created space as their national headquarters, following their relocation to Mercury Theatre in August as part of Arts Council England’s Transfer Programme.

For the next three years, the space will also provide a home for the theatre’s new Mercury Creatives Programme which works with Essex residents who want to want to have careers in local creative industries.

There is also a plan for new LED stage lighting which will cover the whole building.

Digital cameras and equipment will be installed so the theatre can easily live stream performances and other events.

Gazette: Skyline - Mercury Theatre's existing extension next to the Jumbo Water TowerSkyline - Mercury Theatre's existing extension next to the Jumbo Water Tower (Image: Simply C Photography)

This is the part of the theatres aim to provide opportunities for those unable to physically visit the theatre, such as those in hospitals and care homes for example with the annual pantomime.

Steve Mannix, executive director, said, “We cannot thank SELEP, Essex County Council, Colchester Council and Central Government enough for their support.

“Since re-opening two and a half years ago we have been the victim of our own success and have simply run out of space.

"More than 320,000 people have visited the Mercury in this time for shows, events or workshops – more than we ever dreamt of.”