Supporting The Theatre Artists Fund
On Tuesday we launched our Panto in a Box – a pack of four beers with some of our industry friends, panto snacks and our very own panto story, written by renowned panto writer and star Johnny McKnight.
We launched the box as a reaction to the cancellation of pantomimes up and down the country, and from seeing the devastating affects that Covid-19 is having on the performing arts industry. While theatres are now receiving some funding, thousands of freelancers, performers and creatives have missed out, and we wanted to help in our own unique way.
After researching the incredible efforts from organisations up and down the country to provide support to creatives and freelancers at this time, we decided to team up with The Theatre Artists fund.
Read on to find out all about the work of the fund and the people they are supporting!
About The Theatre Artists Fund
The Theatre Artists Fund has been set up to provide emergency support for theatre workers and freelancers across the UK. It is 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. Funding is distributed in grants of up to £1000 per person which they can use toward living costs, after completing the relevant application.
The fund was launched in July, spearheaded by director Sam Mendes, and through generous donations from Netflix, The Estate of Sir Peter and Lady Saunders, private donors and public fundraising. The fund encourages donations from industry figures, corporations, charitable trusts and individual theatre goers alike who care deeply about the future of the theatre industry in the UK.
So far over £3.9 million has been raised, and the fund has awarded £1000 grants to 2,613 people.
Founder of the fund Sam Mendes said:
“Hearing the individual stories of those for whom we have managed to provide short-term financial relief is a stark and moving reminder about why we created this fund in the first place. Their passion and refusal to give up have made us want to continue to push for more support from the public and the industry alike. So for all those out there, who are on the verge of giving up, we have one message: Don’t.“
In a recent survey completed by 632 grant beneficiaries, over 70% of respondents said they had not been able to secure any professional theatre work since lockdown in March. 85% of participants said the Theatre Artists Fund helped them pay their bills, mortgage or rent, with 62% saying it helped them put food on the table. 36% said they had used their creative skills to help the NHS or their local community.
The lack of funding for creatives in the performing arts from the Government is quite frankly devastating to the sector, and that's why it's more important now than ever that we fight to save our creatives, and stop them from retraining...
Funding so far
Of the 2,600+ grant recipients so far, funding has stretched the breadth of the UK, from the Scottish Isles to Cornwall, Northern Ireland, Wales, London, and many cities and towns in between. Over half of the grant recipients (53.6%) were based outside of the capital.
Recipients were from a wide variety of socio-economic and educational backgrounds, and worked in various onstage and offstage theatre roles including Writers, Prop and Set Designers, Stage Managers, Actors, Casting Directors, Technicians, Comedians, Dancers and Costume Makers.
Some recipients were more recent graduates or were at the beginning of their careers, others have been working in the theatre sector for many years.
Here are just a few words from some of the people the Theatre Artists Fund has already supported in their first round of funding:
‘The grant is a lifeline. It allows me to still survive this with my family and hopefully do all I can to protect them until our industry opens successfully again’
– CJ Mitchell (Youth & Stage Manager)
‘I was in a really difficult financial situation as I wasn’t eligible for any government help. A lot of money, just for living, has gone out over the last five months so being able to have some money in my account to stay safe during this time in case something else happens has been so helpful’
– Tess Letham (Dance Artist)
‘When the theatres do reopen, it will mean that I get my job back again, and not only my job, but the space in life that keeps me going. The space that I love. Theatre is medicine, if I’m honest’
– Loussin-Torah Pilikian (Actor)
Read a full interview with Louissin-Torah here
‘The grant itself has proved invaluable. It is an invaluable contribution to my living costs, for outstanding utility bills and family sustenance so it’s been an enormous respite despite the odds that we face daily.’
– Femi Elufowoju Jr. (Director)
‘As someone that has dedicated their life to the theatre, I applied for the Theatre Artists Fund as I very much hoped that this might offer me some support at this difficult time, especially without knowing when we would next be able to work in a theatre environment.’
– Amy Dolan (Company Manager)
How you can help
Want to help us support the Theatre Artists Fund? Profits from our Panto in a Box will be donated directly to the fund. We are also offering the option to add on a "Panto Ticket" to donate an additional, £5, £10 or £15 to the fund.
Are you a creative looking for a grant? The TAF has temporarily closed to new applications, but is likely to re-open again in the coming months. Check back at theatreartists.fund for updates!
At Brewgooder, at the core of our mission is to use profit for purpose. To help communities worldwide with clean water, but also to support our communities closer to home, with campaigns like these.
TAF’s ambition for the fund is to provide short-term relief for hundreds of theatre workers and freelancers across the UK, and particularly those from underrepresented groups disproportionately affected by the crisis. Please help spread the word #TheatreArtistsFund.