Written evidence submitted by the Mercury Theatre Colchester




Re: Call for Evidence - Impact of COVID-19


I am writing on behalf of the Mercury Theatre Colchester in response to your call for evidence as to the impact of COVID-19.


The Mercury Theatre was founded in 1937 and with an annual budget of £3.9 million is the only full-time producing venue in Essex presenting a wide range of drama, music, comedy and dance attracting audiences of more than 130,000 (in addition to more than 34,000 engaged in education and outreach work).


We are currently engaged in a significant capital project to refurbish and update our theatre (£9.8 million investment). The theatre is currently closed but was due to open on the 28th September this year. The impact of COVID-19 means that we will have to delay our opening until at the earliest January 2021. The result will be the loss of income from our programme and additional capital costs to our contractor at present estimated to be at least £1,136,000 (to 31st March 2021).


Please find to follow our detailed response:


What has been the immediate impact of Covid-19 on the sector?


How effectively has the support provided by DCMS, other Government departments and arms-length bodies addressed the sector’s needs?


What will the likely long-term impacts of Covid-19 be on the sector, and what support is needed to deal with those?


What lessons can be learnt from how DCMS, arms-length bodies and the sector have dealt with Covid-19?

What will the likely long-term impacts of Covdi-19 be on the sector, and what support is needed to deal with those?


We would be happy to meet DCMS Officers or Members of Parliament to discuss this response further.


Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


We look forward to working with the department to rebuild the sector for the future.


Steve Mannix

Executive Director