Mercury Theatre, led by Executive Director Steve Mannix, Executive Producer Tracey Childs and Creative Director Ryan McBryde, announce four new associate companies who will partner with the venue for a period of three years.
The new associate companies are English Touring Theatre, Frantic Assembly, Graeae and Paines Plough who will work with Mercury Theatre in co-producing new work, receiving touring productions, and working together across community and talent projects.
Creative Director of Mercury Theatre, Ryan McBryde, today said: “At the Mercury, we believe that our art form is enriched by creatives who have different perspectives, tell new stories, and push the boundaries of theatre. Partnering with these extraordinary, world-renowned theatre companies will allow us to broaden the scope of our work, deepen relationships with our local community and provide more springboards for artists across our region. We look forward to learning more from our new associates, developing and improving our own practice, and ensuring we’re the best we can be, for all of the brilliant, diverse communities across our region.”
ETT (English Touring Theatre) are a UK based international touring company. We create theatre of outstanding quality, imagination and ambition; work which interrogates and celebrates contemporary England and reflects the diversity of our nation. We stage a balance of new and classic work, to make theatre that is imaginative, responsive and alive: sparking dialogue and fostering connectivity. We are proud to tour shows that reach the widest possible range of audiences across the UK and beyond, engaging in a national and global conversation.
Richard Tyman, Artistic Director of ETT, and Holly Gladwell, Executive Producer, today said: “Having co-produced with the Mercury, we’re excited to develop a more sustained collaboration with the team, to create and tour exciting and innovative work that speaks to their audiences and forges greater connections between artists and the local community. We’re looking forward to uniting with the team to support and develop their incredible range of emerging talent, ensuring diversity of voice and experience can be nurtured and valued.”
Frantic Assembly are an internationally renowned physical theatre company. One of the most studied theatre companies, Frantic have an inimitable style and have long delighted our audiences with their bold, collaborative and dynamic approach. Their work reaches far beyond the stage, with education and community engagement playing a vital role in Frantic Assembly’s overall artistic vision, making theatre accessible to a broad range of young people and aspiring professionals.
Artistic Director and co-founder of Frantic Assembly Scott Graham and Kerry Whelan, Executive Director, said: “We are thrilled at the announcement of Frantic Assembly as an Associate Company of Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Partnerships like this are exciting opportunities to grow, inspire and learn from each other, finding innovative ways to share work and process. We are looking forward to the many projects we will develop together. Becoming an Associate Company of Mercury Theatre celebrates the commitment Frantic Assembly has to developing partnerships with venues across the country. It shows the ways that we, as a touring theatre company, can complement the work of regional partners to create art and provide opportunities for participation and training at a local level. We’re excited to have a base in Colchester, Essex and the East of England.”
Graeae Theatre Company is a British organisation boldly places Deaf, disabled & neurodivergent actors centre stage. As well as producing theatre which it tours nationally and internationally to traditional theatres and outdoor spaces, Graeae run a large and varied Creative Learning and training programme for emerging, young and mid-career deaf and disabled artists.
Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Graeae today said: “Graeae is delighted to be part of Mercury’s cohort of associate companies. We are excited to work with the deaf, disabled and Neurodivergent communities and to develop new talent and make some excellent theatre.”
Paines Plough is a touring theatre company dedicated entirely to developing and producing exceptional new writing. The work we create connects with artists and communities across the UK. Since 1974 Paines Plough has produced more than 200 new productions by world renowned playwrights including Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Dennis Kelly, Mike Bartlett, Kae Tempest and Vinay Patel and we tour our plays to over 40 places each year.
Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner, Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, today said: “We are so excited to join this cohort of other touring companies as an Associate of Mercury Theatre from 2023 which will see us develop writers in the region alongside bringing the best new writing into the theatre each year. At a time when new writing is under great threat of stagnating or being significantly cut or reduced in theatre’s programmes, we are delighted that Mercury are investing in new writing and their local writer ecology as part of their core vision and that we have the opportunity to be a part of that.”