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

Artistic Events

Colne Estuary- Bob Bartlett

‘A Working Life 1939-2014’ by Bob Bartlett

Chappel Galleries

Sat 11 Mar - Sun 2 Apr 2017

Art exhibition in a variety of mediums at Chappel Galleries.

RICHARD BILLINGHAM: ORDER OUT OF CHAOS

Richard Billingham - Order Out of Chaos

Art Exchange

Fri 24 Feb - Sat 25 Mar 2017

Direct pictures of family life, on display at the University of Essex's Art Exchange.

Simon Carter Creek Cottages

Simon Carter: Approaching the Remote

The Minories Galleries

Mon 20 Feb - Sat 8 Apr 2017

Colchester Art Society president Simon Carter's latest exhibition, at the Minories.

William Gilberd

Wunderkammer Curiosities from Colchester

Firstsite

Fri 10 Mar - Sun 4 Jun 2017

Art Exhibition at Firstsite Gallery

Zhang Enli

Zhang Enli : Gesture and Form

Firstsite

Fri 10 Mar - Sun 4 Jun 2017

Art Exhibition at Firstsite Gallery

Space

Space + Warm Winters + Surge

Colchester Arts Centre

Thu 30 Mar 2017

Britpop heroes plus local support at Colchester Arts Centre

Wivenhoe Funny Farm

Wivenhoe Funny Farm

Wivenhoe Cricket Club

Thu 30 Mar 2017

Regular Comedy Night at Wivenhoe Cricket Club

Bird Feeding Bonanza

Bird Feeding Bonanza

High Woods Country Park

Wed 5 Apr 2017

Children's activities at Highwoods Country Park

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

Mercury Theatre

Wed 5 - Fri 7 Apr 2017

A musical play adapted and directed by David Wood based on the book by Judith Kerr. On stage at the Mercury Theatre

Hollytrees House

Grand Designs

Hollytrees Museum

Thu 6 Apr 2017

Create your own Doll's House room at Hollytrees Museum

Hollytrees House

Magnificent Millinery

Hollytrees Museum

Thu 6 Apr 2017

Hat Making for children at Hollytrees Museum

NT Live: Twelfth Night (Live Screening)

NT Live: Twelfth Night (Live Screening)

Lakeside Theatre

Thu 6 Apr 2017

The Lakeside Theatre Screens the National Theatre's production of Twelfth Night

Highwoods Country Park

Easter Egg Rolling Egg-Travaganser

High Woods Country Park

Wed 12 Apr 2017

Children's activities at Highwoods Country Park

Coding

Game Maker Studio, 11+

Signals

Thu 13 Apr 2017

Use Game Maker Studio, the professional development software, to programme game mechanics and learn game design. This course is for those who want to take their coding knowledge further, and combine it with a love for making games!

Easter Trail

Easter self-guided Fun Trail

High Woods Country Park

Sat 15 - Mon 17 Apr 2017

Children's activities at Highwoods Country Park

Zoe Lyons

Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit

Colchester Arts Centre

Thu 20 Apr 2017

Comedy at Colchester Arts Centre.

Spamalot

Spamalot

Mercury Theatre

Fri 21 Apr - Sat 13 May 2017

The riotous Monty Python Musical, on stage at the Mercury Theatre

RSC Live: Antony & Cleopatra (Live Screening)

RSC Live: Antony & Cleopatra (Live Screening)

Lakeside Theatre

Wed 26 Apr 2017

The Lakeside Theatre Screens the RSC's production of Antony & Cleopatra

RSC Live: Julius Caesar (Live Screening)

RSC Live: Julius Caesar (Live Screening)

Lakeside Theatre

Wed 26 Apr 2017

The Lakeside Theatre Screens the RSC's production of Julius Caesar

Wivenhoe Funny Farm

Wivenhoe Funny Farm

Wivenhoe Cricket Club

Thu 27 Apr 2017

Regular Comedy Night at Wivenhoe Cricket Club

Bushcraft for Beginners

Bushcraft for Beginners

High Woods Country Park

Sat 29 Apr 2017

An introduction to basic bushcraft skills including fire lighting, knife skills, wild food, foraging and shelter building. Children under 16 must be accompanied.

Mary Griffiths- Parasol

MARY GRIFFITHS’ SOLO EXHIBITION

Chappel Galleries

Sat 6 - Sun 28 May 2017

Mary Griffiths has been a regular exhibitor at Chappel Galleries. The range of subjects in this exhibition will be diverse: portrait heads and figures, still life flowers and landscape

Wivenhoe Funny Farm

Wivenhoe Funny Farm

Wivenhoe Cricket Club

Thu 25 May 2017

Regular Comedy Night at Wivenhoe Cricket Club

Stopmotion Animation

Animation Camp, 9+

Signals

Tue 30 May - Fri 2 Jun 2017

Discover a world of animation techniques including stop motion, drawn and digital animation.