6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Essex Life today click here

A month to remember at Firstsite

PUBLISHED: 11:46 06 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:46 06 March 2017




Colchester’s Firstsite gallery has not been without its critics, but this month is an excellent time to drop by and soak up some Essex culture, explains Janice Walker


The Firstsite gallery moved to its current location in 2011 and has become an integral part of the oldest recorded town’s cultural scene. Designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, the building is a masterpiece in itself.

Built on Scheduled Ancient Monument land, with a ‘no dig’ restriction to protect the archaeological artefacts languishing beneath, the gallery floats on an enormous concrete ‘raft’ and every inch of the TECU Gold (a malleable copper-aluminium alloy) cladding was painstakingly applied by hand.


When you have finished admiring the structure and the wonders of engineering that contributed to its construction, step inside to discover the myriad of cultural delights available.

Firstsite presents exhibitions from both local and internationally-renowned artists, it runs events, activities and learning workshops, and also shows a wide range of films, as well as live opera and ballet screenings.


The gallery’s calendar for March 2017 has something for everyone; with a variety of films and screenings including La Traviata and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; a major solo exhibition of paintings by Chinese artist Zhang Enli, including an ambitious new work which the artist will paint across the entire length and height of the gallery’s curved walls; the 2nd Annual African Families in the UK (AFiUK) Women’s Conference and a number of events which are part of the prestigious Essex Book Festival’s Colchester Place Weekend.

The Essex Book Festival was founded by Essex County Council in 1999, becoming an independent charity run by a board of voluntary trustees in 2011. The festival invites local and international writers to take part in its activities, and 2017 is no exception. There are more than 90 events taking place across the county and Colchester, including Firstsite, is hosting a liberal share of them.


Over the weekend of March 4 and 5, literature lovers can join members of the University of Essex’s Creative Writing team as they share some golden nuggets from their current works, young readers can listen to children’s author Kes Gray giving entertaining talks on board the EES for Schools’ bookbus, and young people can take part in a creative workshop with Monika-Akila Richards, doodle with the Sumi Ink Club or create stories with author DJ Catrell and illustrator Doug Smith.

As the name Colchester Place Weekend suggests, location and geography will play significant roles in many of the events taking place in the town.

The Essex Book Festival’s writer-in-residence is Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent, a Gothic tale of love, belief, science and religion, and she will be sharing the stage with Essex-based Polish poet Wioletta Greg and poet Philip Terry for a discussion about the significance of place in their work.

Writer and activist Lucy Popescu will be joined by AL Kennedy and Roma Tearne to explore the challenges faced by asylum seekers and talk about the collection of works entitled A Country of Refuge, which Lucy compiled and edited.

Whether you are an avid reader, a budding novelist, a novice poet, a published author, or a curious bystander, the array of events at Firstsite during the weekend of March 4 and 5 is sure to include something to spark your creativity or enhance your love of literature.

Find out more

For details of what’s on at Firstsite, clck here and for more information about the Essex Book Festival, visit http://essexbookfestival.org.uk.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 17:04

Kate Cole is the author of Brentwood and Around Through Time. Here she shares some of her own unique insights into the history of this fascinating Essex town

Read more
Yesterday, 11:53

Looking to get away for an Easter break? Adam Jones explains why you don’t have to go very far at all for a great day out – and you can even beat the airport queues

Read more
Monday, March 20, 2017

The new year is the turning of a new page, and a great opportunity for change. It gives people the chance to revisit the way they look at life, or begin new projects. And the owners of Hintlesham Hall, the hotel and spa nestled in the heart of Suffolk, are doing exactly that.

Read more
Monday, March 20, 2017

This walk around the quiet and picturesque village of Langley, tucked right in the northwest corner of the county, goes from the pretty Upper Green around the village to Lower Green and back via the church

Read more
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

No one knows Essex better than the people of Essex; we asked where the prettiest places to live were, and you let us know. So, without further adieu, here are the prettiest places, suggested by you

Read more
Monday, March 13, 2017

With its ancient high street, picturesque scenery and beautiful old buildings, Ongar stands as a civil parish in the Epping Forest District of Essex. We learn about the town, its past and its present

Read more
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lots of the towns and villages in Essex have fascinating histories and beautiful buildings making them wonderful places to live. We’ve selected 10 of our favourites

Read more
Monday, February 20, 2017

With its remarkable heritage and its stunning scenery, Maldon is one of our county’s must-visit towns. Essex Life picks out 10 places you might want to see while you are there

Read more
Monday, February 13, 2017

With its countryside location and charming architecture, the town of Coggeshall has much to endear it to visitors and residents. Here are ten things you might just fall in love with

Read more
Monday, February 6, 2017

Few places in Essex can rival Great Dunmow for its countryside feel, historic architecture and fabulous range of independent businesses. Here Essex Life reveals just some of the things you might find there

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Essex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search