All change at the Mercury Theatre. A new Artistic Director, a new roof, and now the new programme for the Balkerne Gate organisation has been published, the first under the creative leadership of Daniel Buckroyd.
The provincial theatre for Sunny Colch is once again filling its remit to entertain, educate and to shout out IT’S BEHIND YOU! …when Jack and the Beanstalk rolls into Britain’s Oldest Recorded for the pantomime season.
The cast list is still being finalised, but we have the perfect suggestion as to which local politician could amiably fill the role of the back end of the pantomime horse.
But first, let’s look at some of the more serious drama, dahhhlings. What is so special about The Mercury is that it is able to produce in-house production that are defiantly Made in Colchester, as well as inviting other touring companies into our town.
“Mortimer Brewster is a happy man – he is marrying the woman of his dreams and is doted on by his two loving aunts. But one night he diverse a dark secret; his seemingly sweet aunts are anything but…”
See what’s coming?
4th – 20th October should see you right.
There will be little time to change the set ahead of the next Mercury in-house production, Top Girls, running from 1st – 17th November:
“Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?”
“For Marlene, the newly appointed MD of Top Girls Employment Agency, the guest list includes an intrepid Victorian adventurer, a Japanese Concubine, Pope Joan and a Flemish hell-raiser.”
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves in Sunny Colch, so to speak.
Moving on into December and we hit the pantomime season.
OH NO WE DONT’T! blah, blah, blah.
But actually we do.
Jack and the Beanstalk is another homegrown production from The Mercury. Best make sure that the big bean doesn’t grow through the fancy new Mercury Theatre roof that is taking shape.
Elsewhere in the new programme and Hard Places looks at life set in a border conflict, whilst White Rabbit Red Rabbit is about not being allowed to leave your home country. Both serious subjects, and both which require more investigation, rather than a hit and miss blog post.
Other productions include Alan Aykbourn’s Haunting Julia, The Importance of Being Earnest and Dylan Thomas’ Return Journey. Plus don’t forget the Mercury Studio space, offering the chance to experiment with smaller scale productions. The Marvelous Adventures of Mary Seacole on 20th October immediately stands out.
Keep flick, flick flicking through the new schedule, and you soon realise the depth and variety that the Balkerne Gate theatre is able to boast. A Youth Theatre Festival is staged from 22nd – 25th August, Colchester’s Children University [blimey] stage regular events, as well as amateur companies such as the Colchester Operatic Society being invited into the theatre space.
But it’s not all about Hey Nonny Nonny – music be the food of love, etc. Abba Forever [OOOH] Motown’s Greatest Hits and Marty Wilde are all coming to The Mercury. As is Frank Bruno [BLIMEY] and Jethro – although not on the same bill.
So yeah – an incredibly fine first scheduling by Daniel Buckroyd, the new Artistic Director at Balkerne Gate. These are tough times for all the arts venues in Sunny Colch. Full Council at Colchester Borough Council will be considering next Wednesday:
“The Arts review was specifically about the Council’s funding and partnership arrangements with Colchester Art Centre, Firstsite and the Mercury Theatre… Given the current financial climate the Cabinet said the Council was not in a position to give a reliable indication of future funding to Colchester arts organisations.”
Which means that Mercury offers such as the 20% saving on booking both Arsenic and Old Lace with Top Girls is something even more special.
All change, and forever moving forward.
And that’s just the stage instructions for Sir Bob as the back end of the pantomime horse.