Chelmsford Theatre's exterior at night with the gold Muddy Stiletto's logo in the top right corner.

Chelmsford Theatre has been selected as a regional finalist in the prestigious Muddy Stilettos Awards 2023. The theatre, which was recently refurbished with bold new bars, foyers, toilets and for the first time, a daytime café, has been nominated for Essex’s ‘Best Theatre’ award. 

Other ‘Best Theatre’ finalists in the Essex region include the Mercury Theatre in Colchester and Thameside Theatre in Thurrock. 

Awards recognise brilliant local businesses  

The Muddy Stilettos Awards champion local businesses and high streets across the UK in awards covering 28 counties.  

For ten years, they’ve offered local people a chance to thank their favourite theatres, restaurants, bookshops and many more venues across 27 categories. 

Nomination follows Chelmsford Theatre’s transformation 

Earlier this year, Chelmsford Theatre reopened after a refurbishment of its front-of-house areas. The works upgraded the theatre from a worn-out venue that hadn’t been updated for many decades, into a sleek, stylish, and welcoming space.

Since the refurbishment, the theatre has welcomed back old and new audiences, who’ve enjoyed some outstanding productions, including Queenz: The Show With Balls, Tom Allen: Completely, Dreamcoat Stars, and CAODS’ 9 to 5 The Musical. 

Cllr Marie Goldman says this nomination recognises the theatre’s stunning transformation: 

“I’m so delighted to see this well-deserved recognition for our beloved theatre and its brilliant team. 

The Muddy Stilettos Awards are all about promoting and supporting our local businesses. I think this nomination for Chelmsford Theatre perfectly encapsulates why we gave our tired-looking theatre a makeover. With the revamped venue now attracting bigger audiences to Chelmsford, we’re seeing the positive impact this has on small businesses in the area.” 

Cllr Marie Goldman

Lee Henderson, Theatre Director, says the nomination is a fantastic outcome for his team: 

“We’re so proud of this nomination for Chelmsford Theatre. It further recognises the brilliant outcome of our relaunch and I think it really rewards the hard work my team has invested into the theatre’s success this year. We’re so grateful to our visitors who have voted for us already.” 

Lee Henderson, Theatre Director, Chelmsford Theatre 

Regional winners announced on 13 June 

Public voting is now open in the regional finals. You can show your support for Chelmsford Theatre by casting your vote via the Muddy Stilettos website by 11.59pm on 4 June – it takes just seconds.  

You can also handily monitor live voting as it takes place via Muddy Stilettos’ ‘voting cocktails’ here

Regional winners will be announced on Tuesday 13 June and they will automatically go through to the prestigious national finals. Muddy Stilettos editors will then decide just who is the very ‘Best of the Best’ in each category, announcing their national winners on Wednesday 26 July.

Shows this summer selling out 

Chelmsford Theatre has an outstanding programme of shows this summer, with many events selling out fast.  

Most excitingly, the theatre will be welcoming the world-famous The Mousetrap in July, before bringing the multi-award-winning Blood Brothers to the stage in August. Limited tickets remain for these spectacular shows, so don’t wait to book yours.  

And don’t forget, with warmer weather finally arriving, you can enjoy a chilled drink and a space to unwind in the Theatre Café, with the outdoor terrace now open for the summer months. 

By Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes stories for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or 01245 606982.