The Theatre Community Fund has been established to support the theatrical artists and professionals whose livelihoods and creative futures have been threatened in the wake of Covid-19.
This fund will be separated into two priority strands giving grants:
1.HARDSHIP grants in partnership with the Fleabag Support Fund
Distributed by the Royal Theatrical Fund.
2.CREATIVE AND INNOVATION grants in partnership with Michael Grandage Company Futures Bursaries
Distributed by MGCFutures
Applications for the Fleabag Support Fund will open on the 1st of every month for five days, for the foreseeable future.
Applications for MGCFutures Bursaries will open on 16 December 2020 and close 10 January 2021
How To Apply
Applications to the FLEABAG SUPPORT FUND can be made through our partner The Royal Theatrical Fund. All information on eligibility and criteria can be found over at their website.
Applications to MGCFUTURES BURSARIES can be made through our partner MGCFutures. All information on eligibility and criteria can be found over at their website.
The arts are how a society thinks about itself - how we examine and express who we are, who we want to be, who we need to be. Without the arts - without a consciousness - our society cannot claim to be civil, or truly healthy.
But the arts today - and the theatrical arts especially - are under greater threat than they have been in our lifetime. Whilst the government’s arts funding package is of course to be welcomed, it is clear that the beating heart of theatre in this country – freelancers – remain deep in peril. It is clear too that amongst that community, it is those who are already marginalised – those who are already fighting hardest just to make their voices heard – who will suffer most. We will all suffer if they are allowed to fade away.
For that reason we are launching a campaign aimed at helping to sustain theatrical arts practitioners in the UK through the Covid-19 emergency.
The campaign will pursue two main objectives:
Firstly, by adding our voice to existing arts funding campaigns, we aim to increase awareness of the vital role the theatrical arts play in the health of our nation.
Secondly, we will establish the Theatre Community Fund to support the hundreds of thousands of theatrical artists and professionals who currently face an existential threat to their livelihoods and creative futures.
We are not seeking donations from the general public (although of course all donations are welcome). Instead, we are calling on arts professionals like us who through great good fortune find themselves near the top of the tree; those who have been supported by and benefited enormously from the UK's genuinely world-class arts community, and continue to rely on its good health.
We are each making a lump-sum donation to launch this fund. Furthermore, we are committing to paying into the fund a set percentage of our income over the next two years. We ask all those who can to join us.
We understand that many are already giving generously - to this and other causes - and we don't wish to challenge anyone on their private giving decisions, or to create a virtue-signalling arms race. For that reason, we will not be publishing details of any individual contribution. But we call on anyone - writers, actors, directors, producers, business people - anyone who believes in the theatrical arts, and has benefited from them, and finds themselves in a position to give - to join us in making this commitment to those fellow professionals of ours who are struggling, and thereby ensure the future health of our industry, and our nation.
Shaun and Polly Dooley
Emma Freud and Richard Curtis
Sir Anthony Hopkins
Sir Tom Stoppard
Russell T Davies
Dame Emma Thompson
Dame Harriet Walter
Sir Ian McKellen, Sean Mathaias and ATG Productions from funds raised by Ian McKellen on Stage
Who will be eligible for the Fleabag Support Fund?
Anyone UK-based who can demonstrate they worked professionally in UK theatre in the year preceding the Covid-19 crisis, or had professional UK theatre work cancelled due to Covid-19.
For full eligibility criteria please visit The Royal Theatrical Fund’s website.
You may find the website by clicking here.
Who will be eligible for the MGCFutures Bursaries?
Any UK-based arts practitioners who show a commitment to their chosen career and look to progress to the next stage of their development.
For full eligibility criteria please visit MGCFutures website.
You may find the website by clicking here
What will the awards be?
The fund will be separated into two priority strands
HARDSHIP grants, in partnership with the Fleabag Support Fund
The objective of this is to provide a SMALL CRISIS GRANT.
CREATIVE AND INNOVATION grants, in partnership with MGCFutures
The objective of this is to provide a bursary from £500-£5,000, to support careers across the theatre industry
How do I apply?
You will need to apply for the Fleabag Support Fund through The Royal Theatrical Fund. You may find the website by clicking here.
You will need to apply for the MGCFutures Bursaries through Michael Grandage Company Futures. You may find the website by clicking here
When will the grants open?
Applications for the Fleabag Support Fund will open monthly for five days on the 1st of each month.
Applications for MGCFutures Bursaries will open from 12pm on 16th December 2020 and close at 12pm on 7 January 2021.
Who will administer and distribute the funds?
The Royal Theatrical Fund will administer the Fleabag Support Fund. RTF began in 1839 and since its reconstitution in 1979 the Board of Directors have awarded grants, both regular and special, to members of the theatrical profession. The RTF have been working in partnership with the Fleabag Support fund since April 2020 to award hardship grants to those in the theatre profession who have been directly affected by Covid-19.
MGCFutures will administer the creative and innovation grants through their existing bursaries programme. MGCfutures is a charity, formed in 2012. The bursaries programme was launched in 2016 for arts practitioners who show a commitment to their chosen career and look to progress to the next stage of their development.
How are we considering diversity?
We hereby affirm our conviction that the future health of our industry is contingent on allowing all voices and stories to be heard – and to be heard by all – and the fund will be distributed with that simple truth in mind.
Our hardship fund will by definition reach those on the margins of our industry – those whose voices are in imminent danger of falling silent.
Our innovation and creation grants will have clear diversity standards, set in consultation with industry experts, and will aim to help our industry emerge from the Covid-19 crisis in robust - and robustly diverse - good health.
What about the government’s most recent bailout package for the arts? What about other fundraising initiatives?
We welcomed the recent announcement of a bailout package from government. However, our research and conversations have led us to the conclusion that this will focus on buildings and organisations, and leave exposed the same people left exposed by the furlough scheme – ie. freelancers
As for other fundraising initiatives, we are aware of many of them, including the recently announced Theatre Artists Fund, spearheaded by Sam Mendes. We have spoken to some of those involved and cheer their work to the rafters - we need to get money into the sector through as many channels as possible.
We believe that the Theatre Community Fund is distinct in proposing a longer term funding and grants mechanism aimed at helping theatre practitioners – and UK theatre as a whole – move from crisis into resurgence.