Sam Mendes has founded an emergency fund for those in the theatre industry who have found themselves at “breaking point” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the government’s announcement of £1.57 billion support package for the arts ought to alleviate some pressure from the industry, Mendes’ fund is intended to focus on the immediate needs of arts workers as swiftly as possible.
The Theatre Artists Fund, which promises to deliver one-off grants of £1,000 for each individual applicant has received a £500,000 donation from Netflix since its foundation. The donation from the streaming giant follows Mendes calling upon the company to “use a fraction of their Covid-19 windfall” to support the arts during the pandemic.
According to Mendes: “We have created a fund to which the most vulnerable freelance theatre practitioners can now apply.
“It is specifically designed for theatre workers who find themselves at breaking point, for those unable to put food on the table or to pay bills, or for those considering leaving the profession altogether.”
He continued that the fund “is not for buildings, or regular staff, but for freelance artists who actually make the shows that the public pay to see.” The fund will support those from a range of theatrical professions, including choreographers, comedians, and prop makers.
The Theatre Artists Fund also seeks to acknowledge the fact that “those from underrepresented groups might have been disproportionately affected by the crisis” and will act accordingly.
Applicants will find out whether they have been successful by 27 July at the latest.