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New Bespoke Programmes at Mercury Theatre

The Mercury Theatre Colchester has today announced the successful leading theatre-makers selected for their three dedicated talent development programmes for promising and innovative Playwrights, Producers and Directors from the East of England to create and develop new work.

The creation of the three development programmes is part of the Mercury’s commitment to supporting theatre practitioners across the region, many of whom have been severely impacted by the pandemic due to the nationwide closure of venues and the cancellation of tours and festivals.

With individual, nine-month programmes dedicated to Playwrights, Producers and Directors, the Mercury is providing the successful applicants from across the East an extensive opportunity to work alongside industry-leading mentors to gain experience of working professionally in the industry. Each programme has been designed to develop future talent and is comprised of three key dimensions to empower the developing mentees to discover, develop and nurture talent in their own careers.

Mercury Playwrights Programme: Following huge success and industry acclaim from a joint programme in 2020, the Mercury and Josef Weinberger Ltd joined forces to nurture and grow the very best writing talent from the East of England in this exciting Playwrights Programme.

Through an intensive course over nine months, Mercury Playwrights will support the group of writers, to guide and mentor them through the process of creating their own full-length play or piece of theatre. This will be led by award-winning writer and BAFTA nominee Kenny Emson and will take participants through a two-draft process with one-to-one dramaturgy support, as well as opportunities to participate in a number of masterclasses by industry renowned writers.

The 2021/22 successful cohort of Mercury Playwrights are: George Morgan, Scott Younger, Esohe Uwadiae, Sadie Clark, Briony Taylor, Martha Loader, Natalie Songer, Emily Hindle, Emma Louise Howell and Ben SantaMaria.

The Mercury’s newly created Mercury Directors Programme supports mentees through the full page to stage directing process, led by Ailin Conant, Artistic Director of physical company Theatre Témoin.

The chosen Mercury Directors for 2021/22 are: Dan Phillips, Abigail Smith, Ollie Harrington, Sofia Bagge, Robbie Taylor Hunt, Peter Morton, Harry Tennison.

These selected Directors will receive monthly workshops, exploring staging techniques and rehearsal processes, developing individual artistic styles and practices. As well as opportunities to participate in a number of directing masterclasses, led by industry respected directors.

The Mercury Producers Programme will be led by the Mercury’s own Talent Development Producer, Dilek Latif; providing an overview of the skills and craft of theatre producing, alongside a series of networking opportunities.

This programme will explore making work at a range of scales; learning the specific skills and knowledge involved in mounting a successful production. The seven successful applicants are Anna Jeary, Catherine Turner, Lizzie Franks, Natalie Chan, Sean Brooks, Joey Parsad and Daryl Branch – who will take part in monthly workshops exploring the main elements of producing work independently, including setting up companies, pitching, planning, budgeting, fundraising, audiences, marketing, touring and press. The successful producers’ cohort will also have extensive opportunities to take part in a number of producing masterclasses, led by industry respected producers.

Dilek Latif, Talent Development Producer for the Mercury, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received such a positive response to the callout for this programme and were incredibly impressed by the high standard of the creative work submitted for consideration. We are positive that the selected cohort for this 2021/22 season will produce work that will be bold, ambitious and theatrically daring and look forward to nurturing their outstanding talent throughout all three programmes with support from some of the best writers, producers and directors in the industry.”

This cohort of successful Playwrights, Producers and Directors will also be provided with mentoring and support from a range of areas from across the Mercury team. This will include access to rehearsal space at the Mercury rehearsal studio, the chance to share and reflect on work as it is being developed and the opportunity to take part in networking and discussion events while crafting new skills and gaining knowledge from industry experts.

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