THE creative director of a Colchester venue is leaving in order to pursue a freelance theatre career after five years in the role.

The Mercury Theatre's Ryan McBryde has made the decision to part ways with the venue after directing nine successful productions, including the 'anti-Hollywood rom-com' Midsummer which is currently on stage.

During his time as creative director, Mr McByrde also strengthened the theatre’s relations with national touring companies through Associate Companies and led the expansion and growth of the Creative Engagement team.

His departure comes after the Mercury Theatre – which is a registered charity – enjoyed its most successful year to date in its 87-year history.

The theatre’s work has reached more than 170,000 people across Colchester and Essex in the past 12 months

Addressing his departure, Ryan said: “Working at the Mercury has been a profound honour and a significant milestone in my career.

“I consider myself extremely privileged to have served the Mercury’s extraordinary community of audiences, artists, and supporters over the past five years. I leave the Mercury knowing whoever takes over the artistic reigns will be able to thrive.”

Gazette: StSt (Image: Pamela Raith)

Mr McBryde said he hopes non-profit organisation funding will mean “the theatre can continue its unwavering commitment to the support of artists and creative risk-taking”.

He added: “The Mercury has a wonderful team, amazing freelancers, a strong, supportive board, and brilliant partners – local and national.

“I’m deeply grateful to have been a part of the Mercury’s journey and proud of everything we’ve accomplished together.

Rob West, chair of the Mercury board of directors, said the venue would like to thank Ryan for all his hard work and commitment to the work of the Mercury over the last few years.

“He leaves behind him a strong legacy of high-quality work both on and off stage. We wish him well in his future career," he said.

Following the major renovation of the theatre inn 2021, the Mercury Theatre was awarded a BREEAM Very Good certificate, placing it in the top 25 per cent of public buildings in the UK for environmental standards.

The Mercury’s Board of Directors will commence a recruitment process for Ryan’s successor in the next few weeks.