WarnerMedia has donated £250,000 to the Theatre Artists Fund to help support UK theatre workers struggling during the pandemic.
Established by director Sam Mendes, the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, the Theatre Artists Fund provides emergency financial aid to freelancers, who make up an estimated 70% of the theatre sector and many of whom have received no government support.
Priya Dogra, President, WarnerMedia EMEA & Asia (excl. China.) said:
’Many working in the theatre and cinema industry have been greatly affected by the pandemic and many challenges still remain. As we emerge from this past year it is vital that we continue to support our freelance colleagues who are most in need and ensure we continue to champion participation in the arts. We are proud to work alongside our industry colleagues to nurture and build a creative workforce which brings arts and culture to audiences across the UK.’
Sam Mendes, director and co-founder of the Theatre Artists Fund, added:
‘Our huge thanks go to the whole team at WarnerMedia. Support from such a key player at this moment in our campaign has given a vital boost to our efforts to reach those in critical need. Our cultural workforce reaches across film, television and stage. To receive this wonderful grant at such a challenging time will make a significant impact on people’s lives right now and for the creative sector in the long term.’
More than 3,000 people, foundations and businesses have raised a total of £7.2m, enabling more than 7,200 grants since the fund’s launch last July. An awareness-raising campaign centred around 16 March – the anniversary of theatres closing due to Covid – saw many household names join industry colleagues to spread the word on social media, resulting in a spike in public donations.
These hugely generous contributions, alongside significant recent donations from the Jerwood Foundation, Mackintosh Foundation, Backstage Trust and Huo Family Foundation, allowed the Fund to open a fifth round of grant applications in the latter half of March, giving away an incredible £1.9m in over 1,900 individual £1,000 grants.
The high volume of grant applications received in this latest round shows there is still a pressing need for support, which will surely continue for months ahead. Even as theatres gradually reopen according to the government roadmap, uncertainty and financial instability remain a significant issue for the thousands of freelance theatre workers in the UK. Donations to the fund provide an essential lifeline and go directly to those in need.
Full details of how to apply and how to donate to the Theatre Artists Fund are available at theatreartists.fund.