An £800,000 development project has transformed the Lakeside Theatre at the University into an outstanding new contemporary performance space.
The official opening of the Lakeside took place on Monday 16 November, followed by a week of performances featuring Volcano theatre company, Love and Madness ensemble performing Romeo and Juliet and A Taste of Honey, and music from the Portico Quartet.
Essex alumnus and Chair of the FA Lord Triesman of Tottenham, who was instrumental in persuading the then Vice-Chancellor Dr Albert Sloman to commit to building a theatre on the Colchester Campus in the late 1960s, performed the official opening. The first performance, to the opening night invited audience, was by Brazilian master percussionist and Artist in Residence Adriano Adewale. The Colchester Samba Band led the guests into the new theatre, and local performance poet Luke Wright read a specially-commissioned poem before Adriano’s performance.
The theatre has a new entrance and above-ground foyer, café and bar, together with full box office facilities and new access for disabled visitors.
The University secured donations totalling £283,000 from benefactors including the Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, alumni and a bequest from the late Professor Chris Winsten of Mathematics towards the costs.
Pasco Q Kevlin, Theatre Director, said: ‘The University now has a first-class theatre to match its exciting programme of international and culturally-diverse professional productions, student and community productions. This greatly improves the arts facilities available for both our students and the regional community.’
The theatre programme includes film showings, comedy and concerts as well as welcoming a diverse variety of productions from up-coming and award-winning theatre companies.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan, who gave the welcoming address to more than 140 guests at the opening, said: ‘This is a major step forward in the continuing development of the arts at Essex. We are probably unique among UK universities in having theatres at all three of our campuses, and this redevelopment provides a modern and welcoming facility which will help to attract new audiences.’
The Theatre was originally designed by the architect of the Colchester Campus, Kenneth Capon. It helps to create a dam to prevent the lakes from flooding into the valley of the campus.
Notes to Editors
For further information, or to arrange an interview with Theatre Director Pasco Q Kevlin, please contact the Communications Office on 01206 872400.