The Mercury Theatre Colchester has today announced three dedicated talent development programmes for promising and innovative Playwrights, Producers and Directors from the East of England to create and develop work with leading theatre-makers.
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 offering successful applicants 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 will be composed of three key dimensions to empower the developing mentees to discover, develop and nurture talent in their own careers.
Mercury Playwright Programme: Following huge success and industry acclaim from a joint programme in 2020, the Mercury and Josef Weinberger Ltd have joined forces once again to nurture and grow the very best writing talent from the East of England in their exciting Playwrights Programme.
Through an intensive course over nine months, Mercury Playwrights will support a 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 Mercury’s newly created Mercury Directors Programme will support mentees through the full page to stage directing process, led by Ailin Conant, Artistic Director of physical company Theatre Témoin.
Directors will receive monthly workshops, exploring staging techniques and rehearsal processes, developing individual artistic styles and practices. As well as participation in a number of directing masterclasses, led by industry respected directors, alongside mentoring, rehearsal shadowing and pitching opportunities.
The exciting new 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 five successful applicants will receive 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.
Ryan McBryde, Creative Director of the Mercury said: “Artist Development is always at the heart of what we do at the Mercury, but after a year of theatres being dark, we felt it was more important than ever to support and cultivate artists from across our region. The success of our Mercury Playwright’s scheme has proved to us how vital it is that regional theatre’s support local artists and so we’re expanding our programme and adding two new schemes for emerging Directors and Producers.
These creative programmes are an integral part of supporting our freelance regional community and creating work for the future. This means that we can continue to be a source of innovation for audiences and artists across the East and, in the long-term, it will help our sector rebound following the pandemic.”
Dilek Latif, Talent Development Producer for the Mercury said: “Throughout all three programmes classes will be supported by some of the best writers, producers and directors in the industry; and as I know first-hand from building my career as a producer at the Mercury, there is no comparison to learning to shape your talent and your art with such supportive feedback from a broad variety of talented professionals.
We are looking for creatives who are bold, ambitious and theatrically daring. To ensure they tell the most dynamic and varied stories, we are particularly keen to hear from applicants who are underrepresented in this industry – whether this be by class, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.”
The three programmes will offer opportunities for collaboration across the three group areas and the Mercury are keen to foster new opportunities and creative collaborations across the region, the sector and with industry professionals too.