7 amazing things about the Lakeside Theatre


You might not know that tucked away on square 5 of our Colchester campus, we have our very own theatre. The 200 seat venue offers a wide range of creative events throughout term time that come from both professional and student companies! Tickets to the majority of events are just £5 to University of Essex students. Here’s a snapshot of what the Lakeside theatre has to offer…

  1. Professional theatre productions

The Lakeside theatre welcomes a wide range of professional theatre productions on a regular basis (usually every week on a Thursday). It’s really inspiring to see professionals in vibrant and diverse productions! After seeing productions, I am regularly reminded why I study my course and gives me lots of ideas for the future. In the past year there have been shows about the holocaust, human rights in Palestine and web camming. You never know what show is going to come through the doors next!


Thursday 26th -Friday 26th November: “The Privileged”

Jamal Harewood’s production has been described as ‘extraordinarily charged’ by Lyn Gardner from The Guardian. This is your chance to get up close and personal with the Arctic’s whitest apex predator, with black skin.

2. Student theatre productions

Lakeside students

Students are not only encouraged to be inspired by shows at the Lakeside but to also put on whatever show they choose. It’s really nice seeing people that you know on stage and it’s brilliant these people have the opportunity to create expressive and exciting shows. Since I have been at the University, I have been involved in 6 shows and it has been great fun to do something different! The Theatre Arts Society, SX Dance and the African Caribbean Society often showcase their work. Previous student productions include “Crave” by Sarah Kane, “Everyman” by Anon and “Oh What a Lovely war!” by Joan Littlewood.


Wednesday 10th-Friday 12th December: “Jack and the Beanstalk” by Perry James

The annual Theatre Arts Society Pantomime this year is “Jack and the Beanstalk” and is like no pantomime you will have seen before. It will truly be a student pantomime full of crude humour, massive song and dance numbers along with all the pantomime traditions you expect.

I’m particularly looking forward to this one as I have spent the past few months working on the script for the show!


  1. Dance

It’s not just about Drama at the theatre; Dance shows are also a regular feature on the Lakeside stage. Recent performances include the show “A thread” by the company “Jean Abreu Dance” which explored balance and tension in physical movement. Although I don’t dance that often, it’s still really cool to see any creative performance regardless of what style it is in!

Previously Shown:

Thursday 22nd October: “A duet without you” by Chloé Déchery

A Duet Without You is a solo performance trying (and inevitably failing) to be a duet. Re-enacting a pas-de-deux without a partner, Chloé Déchery embarks on a series of fragmented conversations.

4. Music nights

A number of bands play at the Lakeside theatre each term, normally on a Friday evening. These can range in genre from soul and jazz to folk.

Previously shown:

Friday 13th November: 47SOUL

47SOUL are one of the hottest current bands on the international circuit and they came to the Lakeside after huge sets at Bestival, Glastonbury this summer. 47SOUL take dabke into the future, with analog synths, electronic beats, and hyped verses from the four singers. Their lyrics, mixing Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, inside the Middle East and around the world.


  1. Open mic nights

Normally each Friday during term time from 9 pm until 11:30 pm, there is an open mic night at the Lakeside bar. Whether you want to play a tune or just watch, this is the perfect opportunity to see some local talent and enjoy a casual drink at the same time. These are really chilled out nights and provide a nice alternative to just going to a bar or a nightcub!

Lakeside open mic

  1. Lakeside Café by day, Lakeside bar by night.

The foyer of the Lakeside theatre is home to an intimate, chilled café during the day, serving hot drinks and food including breakfasts and lunches. However, when there is a show on, the café becomes a bar serving a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages! I would definitely recommend their Hot Chocolate and selection of pastries!

Lakeside Cafe

TOP TIP- Take a chance to grab a drink after you see a show. The performers often come up to the bar shortly after their performance!


  1. Everything else!

What I’ve talked about so far is just the start! There is also street theatre on the squares, workshops with professionals, a youth theatre and playwriting help sessions to get involved in at the theatre.

Whatever you’re into, there should be something creative available to you at the Lakeside Theatre! Just take a look at their website for more details and how to book tickets!


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