Five new plays and an international theatre symposium are just the most visible part of the Mercury International Festival from Wednesday 26 to Saturday 29 October. The Colchester theatre provides a UK platform for the five theatres aiming to establish a centre for the mobility of artists across geographical boundaries. This is PLOTS – places, links, opportunities, transitions, stories.

All the theatres and companies involved are members of interACT; the lead partner for the project is the municipality of Lecce in Italy. On 26 and 28 October Passion of Trojan Women takes its inspiration from Euripides’ play . The eight performers are from Bulgaria, Italy, Macedonia, Poland and the UK. As with all the other shows, with one exception, performances take place in the Mercury Theatre Studio.

On 26,27 and 28 October Eve Ryman updates the medieval morality Everyman. It’s written and directed by Janice Dunn with a cast drawn from Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, Macedonia, Poland and the UK. The Polish writer and director Pawel Palcat has taken his inspiration for tempEST/bUzra from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The actors on 28 and 29 October are from Bulgaria, Italy, Macedonia, Poland and the UK.

The symposium itself has as its theme: international theatre – now what?. It takes place at Colchester’s new visual arts space – firstsite – on 28 October as part of interACT’s annual conference, to which the Mercury this year is playing host. The Mercury’s own main house show, running from 27 October to 12 November, is a stage adaptation by Mike Moran of Louis de Bernières’ novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

It’s a co-production between the Mercury and the Marjanishvili Theatre of Tbilisi, Georgia and uses British and Georgian actors and puppeteers.. It has already premiered in Georgia, gone on to Armenia and embarks next year on a further international tour. Also destined for theatres abroad is Gari JonesWretch, a one-man play seen briefly earlier this year in Colchester and then on the Edinburgh Fringe. It plays on 26 and 27 October and subsequently from 31 October to 5 November.