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19th September 2017

Theatre celebrates 80 years


Colchester’s Mercury Theatre celebrates 80 years since the formation of the Repertory Company and 45 years since the current building opened it’s doors on 10th May 1972 for the first time.

The theatre company – then known as the Colchester Repertory Company – had been established some 35 years earlier by Robert Digby and Beatrice Radley, and performed at the Albert Hall on Colchester High Street (now the Co-Op Bank). From 1937 onwards, the Company performed plays weekly until the arrival of Administrative Director David Forder in 1968, at which point the Colchester New Theatre Trust was formed to identify a site for a new theatre and to oversee its construction. The Mercury Theatre as we now know it, designed by Norman Downie, was opened on 10th May 1972 after a successful fundraising campaign, supported by a large grant from the Borough Council.

On 10th May 2017, staff and volunteers gathered to celebrate 80 years of the Mercury, and materials from the theatre’s history can be seen in the current Mercury Voices exhibition in the Digby Gallery (running 4 April – 16 May 2017).

Executive Director Steve Mannix said:
“We are so proud to mark 80 years of serving our local community, and it is truly fitting that we are fundraising to develop the building for Colchester at this time, ensuring that the Mercury will be here for 80 years more – and beyond! Now more than ever we want to celebrate our history – if you have memories of the Mercury, please search for Mercury Voices online so we can get in touch.”

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