The Arts in Colchester

Artistic Colchester

Colchester’s arts heritage stretches back to the 1st Century AD when the Romans viewed the town as so important that they built two temples and two theatres, religion and art being closely inter-related.

Today, Colchester is a thriving cultural hotspot, growing an independent arts scene in the town centre, while surrounded by countryside which inspired famous English artists.

Berryfield Mosaic, located in Firstsite
The Berryfield Mosaic, on permanent display in Firstsite, dates  from Roman Colchester.

Modern Art & Architecture

Firstsite Art Gallery

Discover modern visual art destination Firstsite located right in the heart of town, hosting a mix of local, national and international art, as well as running a busy schedule of activities and events for all ages.

The Minories Art Galleries just around the corner is a professional contemporary gallery run by the Colchester School of Art, part of the Colchester Institute.

The University of Essex not only holds the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America but is also celebrated as a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture.

An Inspiration for Great Artists

The wider Colchester area is also the home a diversity of art galleries and arts & crafts centres.

You can view the scenes which inspired famous English artists like 19th Century landscape painter John Constable, 18th century artist Thomas Gainsborough and 20th Century equestrian artist Sir Alfred Munnings.

Colchester's outdoors and surrounding area are perfect for walks and bike rides. Delight in discovering this quintessential English countryside at a relaxed pace, taking in scenes and skies so favoured by some of Britain's leading artists.

Sir Alfred Munnings Sculptue, Munnings Art Museum

Theatres & Shows

Mercury statue on Mercury Theatre. Photo: Visit Essex
 

With the Mercury Theatre and the Headgate Theatre in the town centre, the theatrical arts can be found right in the heart of Colchester. 

Alongside the classics, there is a fascinating independent arts scene based around the Colchester Arts Centre, and you can hear all genres of music being performed in pubs, theatres, bars.

 

Theatres in Colchester

Galleries & Exhibitions

The Sentinel Gallery, Wivenhoe

As well as Firstsite and the Minories Galleires in Colchester town centre, the wider Colchester area is home to a fascinating variety of small and large Art Galleries.

Discover the work of artists of all backgrounds in places such as:

Map of Art Galleries

Current Exhibitions

Tue 17 Jan - Sat 18 Feb 2017

 
 
 

Sat 10 Dec 2016 - Sat 4 Feb 2017

01206 712437

 
 

Artistic Events

Oh America

Gee Vaucher - An Introspective

Firstsite

Sat 12 Nov 2016 - Sun 19 Feb 2017

Firstsite hosts the first ever full Gee Vaucher exhibition.

Jeckyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde the Musical

Mercury Theatre

Wed 18 - Sat 28 Jan 2017

Colchester Operatic Society present this thrilling musical at the Mercury Theatre.

Blue Tits by Carl Borges

Landscape Impressed – prints by 12PM

Boat House Gallery

Sat 5 Nov 2016 - Sun 26 Feb 2017

The Boat House Gallery at Flatford Mill exhibits work by local printmakers

Paul Jones & Dave Kelly

Paul Jones and Dave Kelly

Colchester Arts Centre

Thu 19 Jan 2017

Celebrated UK bluesmen at Colchester Arts Centre

Club Tropicana

Club Tropicana 80s Lux Pop Club Night

Three Wise Monkeys

Fri 20 Jan 2017

80s pop clubnight on the top floor of Three Wise Monkeys

Whole Lotta Led

Whole Lotta Led

Colchester Arts Centre

Fri 20 Jan 2017

Led Zeppelin Tribute at Colchester Arts Centre

Roman Colchester: Peter Froste

Camulodunum and its Villas

Colchester Roman circus centre

Mon 23 Jan 2017

Lecture at Colchester Roman Circus Centre

Dipper Malkin

Dipper Malkin

Colchester Arts Centre

Mon 23 Jan 2017

Folk Music at Colchester Arts Centre

NT Live: Amadeus (Live Screening)

NT Live: Amadeus (Live Screening)

Lakeside Theatre

Thu 2 Feb 2017

The Lakeside Theatre Screens the National Theatre's production of Amadeus

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

Charter Hall

Fri 3 Feb 2017

BBC Radio’s multi award-winning antidote to panel games on stage at the Charter Hall

Fate Love and Legends

Fate, Love and Legends

University of Essex: Colchester Campus

Sat 4 Feb 2017

The University of Essex Choir perform in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall

hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Charter Hall

Sat 4 Feb 2017

The classic children's book comes to the stage at Charter Hall.

Kingfisher Ensemble

Kingfisher Ensemble

Lion Walk Church

Sun 5 Feb 2017

Music for a Sunday Afternoon at Lion Walk Church

Teddy Bear's Concert

Teddy Bears Concert

Colchester Arts Centre

Sun 5 Feb 2017

Children's concert at Colchester Arts Centre

Showstopper! The Musical

Showstopper! The Musical

Mercury Theatre

Thu 9 - Sat 11 Feb 2017

Spontaneous musical comedy at its finest – direct from the West End and now heading to the Mercury Theatre!

Valentines at the Castle

Valentines at the Castle

Colchester Castle Museum

Fri 10 Feb 2017

Historical naughtiness for adults in Colchester Castle.

Showstopper! The Musical

Showstopper! The Musical

Mercury Theatre

Sat 11 Feb 2017

Spontaneous musical comedy at its finest – direct from the West End and now heading to the Mercury Theatre!

Roman Circus

Mud and Monuments

Colchester Roman circus centre

Mon 13 Feb 2017

Lecture at Colchester Roman Circus Centre

The First Hippo On The Moon

The First Hippo On The Moon

Mercury Theatre

Tue 14 Feb 2017

From Number One bestselling Children’s author David Walliams comes an explosively funny space adventure for children of 3 and up. Two big hippos. One ENORMOUS dream. Who can make it to the moon first?

Hollytrees House

Toys!

Hollytrees Museum

Tue 14 Feb 2017

Making and discovering for children in Hollytrees Museum

Colchester in the Great War

Andrew Phillips: 'Colchester in the Great War'

Red Lion Bookshop

Wed 15 Feb 2017

Local Author talking at Red Lion Books

Fantastic Fossils

Go Live! Fantastic Fossils

Natural History Museum

Wed 15 Feb 2017

Meet the fossil experts from GeoSuffolk and discover more about amazing fossils to find in this area. Bring along your own fossils to find out about them.

The First Hippo On The Moon

The First Hippo On The Moon

Mercury Theatre

Wed 15 Feb 2017

From Number One bestselling Children’s author David Walliams comes an explosively funny space adventure for children of 3 and up. Two big hippos. One ENORMOUS dream. Who can make it to the moon first?

Castle Archery

Castle Archery

Colchester Castle Museum

Thu 16 Feb 2017

Hit the bulls eye this half term at Colchester castle. Discover why English bowmen were so effective and test your sharp shooting skills.