Phoebe Waller-Bridge & Olivia Colman Launch Fund For UK Theatre Professionals; Donors Include Tom Hiddleston, Emilia Clarke & Daniel Radcliffe

Phoebe Waller-Bridge / Olivia Colman
Phoebe Waller-Bridge / Olivia Colman AP

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Oscar-winner Olivia Colman and producer Francesca Moody (Fleabag) are launching The Theatre Community Fund, which will provide grants to UK theatre professionals who have been struggling economically during the coronavirus pandemic.

Donors will contribute through initial lump sums and, innovatively, through fixed, confidential percentages of their incomes over the next two years. The fund will be separated into two priority strands giving grants of up to £3,000:

  1. To help freelancers survive the present by providing hardship grants to those in immediate need.
  2. To ensure a healthy future for the industry by providing innovation and creation grants for artists to produce work.

Among first donors to the fund, which has to date received combined pledges of £1M, are Tom Hiddleston, Gillian Anderson, Danny Boyle, Emilia Clarke, Richard Curtis, Kit Harrington, Ian McKellen, Daisy Ridley, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Thompson and Rachel Weisz. Scroll down for the list in full.

The group explained that the fund “reflects its donors’ recognition that they have benefitted a great deal personally from the health of the UK theatre, and is a statement of their belief that UK theatre – nationally for all audiences and voices and down its grass roots – is vital to the strength of our nation.”

Waller-Bridge, Colman and Moody conceived the fund as a longer-term supplement to other schemes already in existence. It will be dispersed and monitored by The Royal Theatrical Fund (RTF) in partnership with the Fleabag Support Fund (FSF), which has been raising money to help theatre professionals during the pandemic. In May 2020, FSF disseminated its first wave of grants of around £83,000.

The founders of the fund said they “will continue to appeal to all performers, artists, producers and executives – anyone who believes in the theatrical arts and has benefited from them – to contribute to the fund, if in a position to do so.”

Sam Mendes recently set up the Theatre Artists Fund, which launched at the start of July with a £500,000 donation from Netflix. It received 4,000 applications in less than a month and provides one-off grants of £1,000. The fund has raised more than £1.6M to date with contributors including Michaela Coel, Armando Iannucci and Imelda Staunton. £85,000 was raised from the public.

Thousands of theatrical freelancers are currently sidelined due to the shutdown of theaters and prospect of re-opening remain uncertain.

The Theatre Community Fund, Founding Donors:

Gillian Anderson
Jesse Armstrong
Tim Bevan
Hugh Bonneville
Stephen Boxer
Danny Boyle
Jim Carter
Emilia Clarke
James Cordon
Stephen Daldry
Arthur Darvill
Shaun Dooley
Anne-Marie Duff
Jane Featherstone
Eric Fellner
Tania Franks
Emma Freud and Richard Curtis
Romola Garai
Rebecca Hall
David Hare
David Harewood
Kit Harrington
Jonathan Harvey
Keeley Hawes
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hollander
Tony Hopkirk
Suranne Jones
Katherine Kelly
Robert Lindsay
Lucy Lumsden
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
James McAvoy
Matthew McFadyen
Ian McKellen, Sean Mathias and ATG Productions from funds raised by Ian McKellen On Stage
David Morrissey
Josh O’Connor
Al Petrie
Daniel Radcliffe
Daisy Ridley
Andrew Scott
Imelda Staunton
Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar
Russell T Davies
Emma Thompson
Harriet Walter
Rachel Weisz
Jodie Whittaker and Christian Contreras
David Yates

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