The Mercury Theatre has announced that it will be streaming its record-breaking pantomime Cinderella for audiences to celebrate at home this Christmas, while providing a valuable lifeline for the show’s cast and crew.
Filmed over Christmas 2019 in front of a live family audience of over 800 people, the Mercury promises that this fun-filled magical show, that smashed all previous Mercury box office records, has just what it takes to put a smile on everyone’s face this December.
The pantomime, written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Mercury Creative Director Ryan McBryde, is the ultimate rags-to-riches tale Cinderella, featuring a talented line up including the 2020 Pantomime Award winning ugly sisters, and Colchester panto favourites, Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville, alongside spritely Fairy Godmother Deborah Tracey.
All of the proceeds from the ticket sales to view Cinderella online will be split equally between the theatre and all of the freelancers whose work is visible on the stage, and those who worked behind the scenes, to bring this magical show to life. Over forty individuals, including actors, musicians, stage management, dressers and backstage crew will share 50% of the income from the streaming.
We are delighted that we can offer a small lifeline to the incredibly talented freelance team of cast, crew and creatives who worked tirelessly to create this magical production.Tracey Childs, Executive Producer at the Mercury Theatre
Tracey went on to say: “Our staff have been protected throughout this pandemic with the job retention scheme (and contributions from the Mercury) and all the usual advantages of being permanent staff, however, freelancers have really suffered throughout the pandemic and we cannot survive without them! This has led us to set up several initiatives to try and help, including a confidential Hardship Fund, and our Mercury Masterclasses. This sparked this idea and I am delighted that the multi- talented freelancers, whose work you see on the stage and those that worked behind the scenes, have agreed and will benefit directly from these ticket sales.”
“Freelancers are vital to the theatre industry and make up about 70% of creating our productions. Particularly when we work together for a length of time on a show like Cinderella, these artists and experts become part of the Mercury family and are essential to our lifeblood and cultural future.”
“We are thankful that our organisation is enriched by our collaborations with the freelance community. Without freelancers Cinderella would be a vastly different show and we want to be able to welcome these talents and skillsets back to our theatre in the future. We are incredibly grateful to our audiences for supporting us and we hope that this performance by our fabulous cast and crew will add a touch of magic to everyone’s Christmas.”
Passes to view the pantomime in December are on sale now and households can purchase their pass to watch the magical show anytime between the 19 December and the 1 January 2021 inclusive. Passes to watch the production are also on sale to schools, for classes to tune-in from the 1st to the 18th of December.
Following the successful streaming of the show to care homes and hospitals earlier this year, the Mercury team are excited that technology will enable them to share the magic and festive cheer to the wider communities in Essex and beyond. The Mercury is gifting hospitals and care homes across Essex opportunities to access the performance for free in December and care homes further afield can purchase a pass to access the show for their residents too.
Now that our redevelopment project is nearly completed, it is incredibly exciting, but also a worrying time for us. Pantomime is crucial to our long-term financial security and Cinderella being streamed is going to offer our audiences a wonderful chance to experience all the sparkle of a classic Mercury pantomime, from the comfort of home with their loved ones, while supporting the theatre and helping us return in our fantastic refurbished theatre in the New Year.Steve Mannix, Executive Director at the Mercury Theatre
The Mercury Rising project is being supported with £1.2 million of European Regional Development Fund money, £1 million from Colchester Borough Council and donations from the public and a range of other organisations, including Arts Council England, Essex County Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Demolition work started in October 2019, and the project to refurbish the forty-seven year-old theatre building is near completion. The theatre management team are currently planning to unveil the Mercury’s refurbished site, including the first of their PILOT community workshops in Spring 2021.