Sam Mendes’ Theatre Artist Fund for struggling freelancers totals £3.5m, reopens for applications

The Theatre Artist Fund set-up by Sir Sam Mendes to help theatre freelancers left struggling by the pandemic, has raised £3.5m. Eligible applicants receive a £1,000 grant.

The fund received an early boost from Netflix, which contributed a  £500,000 kickstarter. Now Arts Council England has made a £1 million contribution, which along with donations from Jim Broadbent, Michelle Dockery and Ralph Fienne has allowed the fund to reopen for applications. 

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to contribute to the Theatre Artist Fund, which is working hard to provide a lifeline to thousands of theatre professionals, including those from our most under-represented communities, during this unparalleled crisis for the arts,” says Simon Mellor, deputy CEO, arts and culture for Arts Council England.

Other headline supporters include The Estate of Sir Peter and Lady Saunders and Backstage Trust. The fund continues to look for support from industry figures, corporations, charitable trusts and individual theatre goers.

The second round of applications are open now for two weeks, closing midday September 10.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Arts Council England for this transformative contribution, which I hope will lead to an ongoing relationship with the fund as it grows in scale and permanence,” says Mendes.

“This fund has enabled us to move fast in response to the urgent need among freelancers and self-employed theatre artists. But the situation is still desperate and many more still need help.”

Freelancers can click here to find out if they are eligible for a grant, as well as details about how to apply.