Over 75 applicants applied for the posts, following the resignation of Dee Evans who had led the theatre for the past 14 years and was instrumental in securing its Arts Council national portfolio organisation status. Funding is also received from Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council, and it has been reckoned that the Mercury contributes some £1.8 million to the local economy. During 2011 the Mercury gave 279 performances, of which 162 were the theatre’s own company shows, and sold 118,171 tickets.
The theatre employs 63 permanent staff and many more freelance workers including actors, directors, designers and musicians who join the theatre on a production-by-production basis. It is one of the three medium-scale producing theatres in East Anglia – the others being Ipswich’s New Wolsey and Watford’s Palace; there are about 20 altogether in England. Joint productions with other theatres, regional and national tours and links with oversea theatres, companies, directors and performers have all been developed under Evans’ tenure.
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