Involved Partners: We worked in partnership with local theatre, Mercury Theatre, to build our Christmas castle. 

With Christmas 2020 being rather different to normal, the team at Culver Square shopping Centre, in the heart of Colchester, wanted to provide shoppers with a COVID safe Christmas that put a much-needed smile on customers faces and ensured that Culver Square was top of mind during the festive season. ‘Christmas in the Square’ was a campaign with various elements to entertain shoppers during the festive period.

The star feature and anchor to the event being a 6m high Disney inspired magical Castle – featuring Colchester themed stained-glass windows, 500 lights and a rotating Santa’s sleigh. The local Mercury Theatre was commissioned to design and build the castle. With the closure of the theatre due to COVID and the cancellation of the Christmas pantomime, the freelance staff were facing an uncertain future. Our project provided two months’ work for these vulnerable and valuable workers supporting the local community and the town centre we are an integral part of. But the magic didn’t stop there! The Centre might not have been able to host their annual Christmas Light Switch on event, so we switched to a virtual lights one showcasing the Castle and lighting. A drone was used to film the Centre creating a beautiful video which was shared on Centre’s digital channels. This allowed the Colchester public to still enjoy the traditional launch to the Christmas festivities without the risk of a crowded event. Colchester retail remained open in December 2020 and our Christmas campaign attracted visitors in a safe and sustainable way which supported year-on-year growth in sales, crucial for our retailers. Some key results include (see supporting evidence for more):  

  • £11,197.63 worth of press coverage  
  • Coverage on ITV News  
  • 38,789 organic Facebook views  
  • Over 1,000 views of Christmas Light Switch video 


“We were delighted the Mercury was asked to play a part in this enchanting display for Colchester and to work together with the Culver Square management team for the benefit of the whole town.We are extremely grateful that this opportunity has allowed us to offer our highly talented scenic team the opportunity to return to (socially-distanced) work. Freelancers have really suffered throughout the pandemic and our industry cannot survive without them! This has led us to set up several initiatives to try and help, including a confidential Hardship Fund, and I am thrilled that together with our multi- talented team and production facilities, we have been able to make fairy tales come true for the people of Colchester this Christmas.”

Tracey Childs – Executive Producer at the Mercury