Thursday 18 July to Sunday 21 July

The new writing festival Hotbed comes to the Mercury Theatre after a successful run at The Junction, Cambridge.

The four day festival, produced by Cambridge theatre company Menagerie, celebrates the work of some of the best playwrights in the UK, as well as offering a platform for up- and-coming talent.

The One Act play Swimming, directed by the Mercury Theatre’s Associate Director Tony Casement, will be a highlight.

Written by new East Midlands playwright Jane Upton, whose debut Bones won critical acclaim at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, Swimming tells the story of three young people plotting an escape from their interminable existence on the Isle of Wight. It is a play about connection, disconnection and what it’s like to be trapped by your home town.

The Hotbed festival will run from July 18 – 21 and will feature a wide range of directors and actors, talks, workshops and foyer events, as well as two other newly commissioned One Act plays from Steve Waters and Richard Fredman. Local performance poet Luke Wright will bring his Essex Lion show to the Colchester Arts Centre, and the Fringe-award winning Pat Kinevane will present his stunning one-man shows Silent and Forgotten.

For more information, including performance times and ticket prices, visit