Created last July by director Sam Mendes, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, the Theatre Artists Fund provides emergency financial aid to the freelancers who make up an estimated 70% of the theatre sector, many of whom have received no Government support.
Cameron Mackintosh said:
‘Though the Government’s exemplary vaccine programme has shown that there is now light at the end of the tunnel, the probability is that it will still be over seven months before the West End has the majority of its major shows back. This latest grant from my Foundation, a year after our industry was closed down, will hopefully help some of our hard-hit freelancers to get through until we can employ them again, provided there are no further shutdowns which would be catastrophic.
‘My theatre and production companies have also during this last year supported hundreds of jobs throughout the closure of our theatres and productions, to ensure that our historic buildings and world-renowned productions are ready to come back, as soon as we have a permanent instruction from the Government to do so.
‘The resilience and spirit of everyone working in the theatre during this gruelling time has been quite inspirational, as has the amazing patience and enthusiastic support of the public who continue to book seats, demonstrating that they can’t wait to come back to live theatre as soon as they can.’
Sam Mendes, director, and co-founder of the Theatre Artists Fund, said:
‘We are immensely grateful to the Mackintosh Foundation for this extraordinarily generous contribution. Throughout the process of setting up the Theatre Artists Fund, we have been consistently moved by the feeling that the theatre community is pulling together to support and protect its most vulnerable members, and this is a wonderful example of exactly that.’
Last week’s 16 March anniversary of UK theatre closures saw the whole theatre community, including a host of famous actors and theatre makers, taking to social media to highlight the plight of unemployed freelancers and raise awareness for the Theatre Artists Fund.
The campaign triggered a surge of donations from organisations and members of the public, with more to be announced soon.
The latest round of Theatre Artists Fund grant applications is currently open until 30 March. Eligible freelancers in need can apply for an individual grant of £1000 to help pay bills and put food on the table.
Full details of eligibility and how to apply are available at theatreartists.fund.