The Theatrical Guild has been chosen as the adopted charity for the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards, the “theatregoers’ choice”. The four-month campaign for this year’s 11th annual Awards – including the two star-studded events which top and tail audience voting – will be held in aid of the Guild, which exists to provide help to all who are connected with the professional theatre, particularly backstage and front of house staff.

Multiple Olivier Award-winning actor Simon Russell Beale, who opens tonight (7 September 2010) in the West End revival of Deathtrap, will speak on behalf of The Theatrical Guild at the first awards event. The invitation-only launch party, at which the full set of nominations for the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards will be announced, will be held for 500+ industry guests at Cafe de Paris at lunchtime on Friday 3 December 2010.

Established in 1891, under the title of The Theatrical Ladies' Guild, the charity was founded by a group of distinguished actresses, led by Mrs Charles L Carson, "Kittie", who set out to help those in the profession who had fallen on bad times. To dispel the mistaken notion that it was for women only, the charity changed its name to The Theatrical Guild (TTG) in 2001.

Uniquely, TTG makes no distinction between the nature of employment – backstage and onstage, front of house, technical, catering, sales and administration, management – if you have worked in the theatre and are facing hardship then The Theatrical Guild can work for you through regular and one-off grants and other forms financial aid and assistance.

Amongst the highly distinguished current generation of West End actresses steering the Guild’s work in the 21st century are: president Phyllida Law, chair Belinda Lang, Issy Van Randwyck and Liz Robertson.

Nominations open for the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards at the beginning of November. The shortlists are announced at the Awards Launch Party held on 3 December 2010 at Café de Paris. Online voting then commences to decide the eventual winners, which will be announced in mid-February 2011 at the Winners’ Concert at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre, where trophies will be presented.

Of the charity, impresario Cameron Mackintosh says: “’The show must go on’ has been the mantra of anyone who works in the theatre. However, most shows couldn't go on without the vital skills of the backstage and front of house staff. The Theatrical Guild (TTG) is the charity which looks after the welfare of these unknown hard-working members of our profession when they suffer hardship.”

And commenting on its newly announced involvement with the “theatregoers’ choice” awards, Liz Robertson, currently appearing in Love Never Dies at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, added: “TTG is thrilled to be the adopted charity of Whatsonstage.com for 2011, giving The Theatrical Guild the chance to reach all theatre lovers and giving them the opportunity to support the unsung heroes.”

Terri Paddock, editorial director of Whatsonstage.com, commented: “We at Whatsonstage.com are very excited about working with The Theatrical Guild. As theatregoers, it’s the actors who tread the boards and get their names in lights whose names we’re most familiar with. It’s wonderful to see those actors giving so much back to support countless others in a profession that’s fuelled by passion but often blighted by low pay and financial struggles.”

For more information on The Theatrical Guild, visit www.ttg.org.uk.


About the Whatsonstage.com Awards

Each year, Whatsonstage.com selects one arts-related charity as part of the Whatsonstage.com Awards campaign. In addition to the association with the best of British theatre and proceeds received from the two Awards events, the charity benefits from exposure on Whatsonstage.com and our dedicated awards website as well as in our sister print title What’s On Stage Magazine and gains a valuable platform to directly address both the theatre industry and the theatregoing public. Previous Awards charities have included Masterclass, TheatreMAD, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, SAFE (Sponsored Arts for Education), Sophie’s Silver Lining Fund and the Drake Music Project.

All professional productions – from West End to Fringe – opened in London between 1 December 2009 and 30 November 2010 are eligible for nomination in the next Awards. Voting takes place online and is strictly monitored, with only one vote accepted per person. Over 46,000 people voted in the last Awards, which culminated with the star-studded Winners’ Concert at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre on Sunday 14 February 2010, co-hosted by Christopher Biggins and Mel Giedroyc. For full results and coverage from previous years, visit awards.whatsonstage.com.

For the 11th annual Awards, we are making a limited number of sponsorship packages – normally reserved for corporate partners – available to private theatregoers. These include tickets to the invitation-only, industry-attended launch party at Café de Paris (not normally open to the public) as well as VIP passes to the Winners’ Concert next February. For more information on Theatregoer Sponsorship, click here.