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Over £1.6m has been raised to help freelancers through the Theatre Artists Fund, spearheaded by Sam Mendes

The scheme has collaborated with the likes of Netflix

Sam Mendes
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Sam Mendes has given an update on his Theatre Artists Fund, which aims to help unsupported creatives through the pandemic.

One million, six hundred-thousand pounds was raised by Mendes alongside Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre to support selected freelancers, each of whom will receive £1000 grants to help them through the ongoing pandemic. The amount, which will be distributed to a number of applicants next week, was raised through donations and support from across the arts community.

Contributors to the fund include The Estate Of Sir Peter and Lady Saunders who will join Netflix as headline supporter, as well as The Mackintosh Foundation, Eileen Davidson Productions, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Linbury Trust, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Redmayne, Sonia Friedman, Caro Newling, Colin Firth, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hiddleston and many more.

The fund has also received almost £85,000 in donations from members of the public and donors from across the industry, via online donation platform Enthuse, including Michaela Coel, Michael Frayn, David Hare, Nicholas Hytner, Armando Iannucci, Thea Sharrock, Mark Strong, Emma Thompson, Laura Wade, David Walliams and Edgar Wright.

Despite the sum, the fund will be able to help less than half of the 4000 initial applicants that registered for help in the space of a week.

Mendes said: "The theatre industry is 70% freelance. So we know that literally thousands more actors, writers, directors, stage managers, costume designers and many more urgently need our help. We have raised £1.6 million in this first round of fundraising, so we are able to help 1,600 people. Now we want to help many more."