Oscar-winning film and theatre director Sam Mendes is the driving force behind the Theatre Artists Fund, set up for theatre professionals who are in need of urgent and critical financial support due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the theatre sector. The Fund has been made possible from a generous donation from Netflix.
Organised in association with Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, the ambition for the fund is to provide short-term relief for hundreds of theatre workers and freelancers across the UK, and particularly those from under-represented groups disproportionately affected by the crisis.
Sam Mendes said: “Thousands of theatre professionals in the UK are struggling. Many of them haven’t been able to get help from the existing government schemes, and the situation continues to worsen. They need help now.
“We have created a fund to which the most vulnerable freelance theatre practitioners can now apply. It is specifically designed for theatre workers who find themselves at breaking point, for those unable to put food on the table or to pay bills, or for those considering leaving the profession altogether.”
The initial donation of £500,000 from Netflix will support 500 individual grants of £1,000, but the hope is that industry figures, corporations, charitable trusts and individual theatregoers alike who care deeply about the future of the theatre industry in the UK will also donate. They can email email firstname.lastname@example.org. The more donations the Fund receives, the more people it can help through this difficult time.
All the details about eligibility are available on the Fund’s website but they include:
- You are a theatre professional and have worked in one or many role/s (within the sector) totalling at least eight weeks between 1 January 2019 and 31 March 2020
- You are in need of urgent financial assistance due to the Covid-19 pandemic
- You are self-employed or currently unemployed
- You are not currently furloughed by your employer on the Government’s Job Retention Scheme or received any support via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
- You are a resident of the UK
- You earn the majority of your income through professional theatre work in the UK