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Top Five Arts and Culture Tips for Colchester

Published at: 12/10/2016

If you are an arts lover you will already be aware of how spoiled for choice you are in Colchester, but if you are new to the town you might be wondering where to get started. As the town's leading estate agent our team has unrivalled local knowledge, so we asked them to put together their Top Five Tips.

Mercury Theatre

Colchester's Mercury Theatre, located by the town's Roman Balkerne Gate and historic water tower Jumbo, is home to the highly acclaimed original Made in Colchester shows, as well as touring shows, offering a vibrant and broad programme of productions across two auditoria. The theatre is also home to the Digby Gallery which showcases local art, and the in-house Restaurant, Food @ The Mercury Restaurant.

For visitors with disabilities the theatre has a lift, accessible viewing areas with accompanying seating for carers or companions, and an assisted listening system with headphones provided. There is also blue badge parking.


Colchester Arts Centre

A short stroll along the Roman wall from the Mercury Theatre is the Colchester Arts Centre in St Mary at the Walls church. Dating back to 1206 the church played a role in the Siege of Colchester and is fabled to be from where Humpty Dumpty, supposedly a Royalist canon mounted on its walls, had a great fall. It is now home to the performing arts and plays host to some of the newest comics, modern choreographers, coolest DJ's and freshest talent in Britain, and has promoted acts from Coldplay and the Libertines to Jo Brand, Graham Norton, Ronnie Scott and John Cooper Clarke.

Colchester Arts Centre is fully wheelchair accessible.


Headgate Theatre

Hidden away in the south east of the town centre is the much loved Headgate Theatre, the home of amateur theatre in Colchester. This is a wonderful intimate theatre which produces a wide variety of productions throughout the year. Facilities include a bar/lounge.

Visitors with disabilities enjoy full access.



Firstsite is Colchester's contemporary art gallery with its home in the spectacular golden building designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, which is a work of art in its own right. Situated at the eastern end of the town centre, a stone's throw from Colchester's Norman castle, Firstsite presents a varied programme of exhibitions, commissions, residencies and screenings, in a broad range of media and art forms, by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. There is one permanent exhibit, the Berryfield Mosaic, a Roman mosaic unearthed in 1923 on the site on which the building now stands.

Firstsite has level access throughout and is fully accessible for the disabled. A wheelchair is available (on a first come, first served basis) and assistance dogs are welcome. There are 4 disabled parking bays near the entrance available on a first come, first served basis.


The Minories Galleries

Next door to Firstsite, in a listed Georgian building of local importance, is The Minories Galleries. The Minories is a contemporary art gallery run by the Colchester School of Art. As well as the gallery The Minories has a wonderful walled garden and is also home to a shop selling some of the best art and crafts to be found in the area, showcasing a unique selection produced by local artists, makers and designers representing emerging talent and established artists. Visitors can also visit the gallery's Batte-Lay Tearoom tea room run by world famous Wilkin & Sons.

The Minories Gallery is fully wheelchair accessible.


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