Theatre News

Theatre Artists Fund raises £2 million in less than 48 hours

The charity looks to support theatre freelancers through the festive period

Backstage crew in action
Backstage crew in action

Over the past 48 hours, a new campaign led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport via Arts Council England, Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Backstage Trust has raised £2 million for the Theatre Artists Fund.

The new donations will be distributed among the growing number of theatre freelancers directly impacted by the surge in new Covid cases across the UK, who suddenly find themselves out of work due to show cancellations.

A new round of applications for grants will open at midday tomorrow, 24 December and will close at noon on 10 January.

Originally set up by director Sam Mendes and administered by the Theatre Development Trust, the Theatre Artists Fund offers emergency grants of £1000 to individuals, who are ineligible for financial government support. Since launching in the summer of 2020, the charity has raised over £7.8 million and allocated around 8,200 grants.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, commented: "The advance of the Omicron variant means that the cultural sector is once again dealing with further adversity. We thank the government for its unprecedented support for our creative and cultural organisations during these difficult and uncertain times.

"We are pleased to have been able to make £650,000 immediately available to the Theatre Artists Fund to support freelancers, and are grateful to the theatre community for the incredible generosity they have shown with their contribution to the fund. We will continue to deliver funds on behalf of government to help protect the livelihoods of the many individuals and organisations that keep culture alive across the country."

To donate to the Theatre Artists Fund, please visit

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