Ian McKellen launches fundraiser to help theatre workers in dire need of support
Posted on 1 July 2020
Hollywood movie star and highly prolific stage actor Ian McKellen (X-Men, The Lord of the Rings) has started a new fundraising initiative to help theatre workers in need. In special collaboration with The Theatrical Guild through The Good Exchange Platform, his goal is to raise a minimum of £80,000 for those who have been unable to support themselves following the mass closure of UK theatres this past spring.
McKellen has called for "anyone who has attended a theatrical production in the past to put their hands in their pockets to raise at least £80,000 for those most in need, with match funding on The Good Exchange platform, every £1 donated by the public will be doubled."
Sir Ian McKellen starts fundraising appeal for front-of-house and backstage staff with £40k donation
The actor has kicked off the new fundraiser by donation £40,000 and has teamed up with The Theatrical Guild to raise double that for housing costs, food supplies, and mental health services for UK and West End theatre staff.
McKellen said: “Many people who work in the theatre industry have seen their livelihoods disappear due to the coronavirus lockdown. I, for example, have received a distressing letter from a stage manager who is facing eviction from his home and can’t access government relief.”
Adam Bambrough, General Manager of The Theatrical Guild, said: “These individuals are the unsung heroes of every staged performance, without whom there would be no shows. Their variety of skills from creating costumes, operating lighting rigs, and running the box office, to photographing the shows are what make theatre performances possible. Yet, most are low-paid, self-employed or on zero hours contracts so many, through no fault of their own, have fallen between the gaps for Government support.”
Who will receive financial support from Ian McKellen's fund?
Those receiving a portion of the fund will include stage managers, sound technicians, hairdressers, and many more who remain generally unseen and behind the scenes. Some theatre workers have become homeless overnight after losing their rooms in theatre digs once their productions shut down. These are the kind of people that The Theatrical Guild and Ian McKellen hope to support.
Outcry from industry leaders, actors, theatre workers and theatregoers have gone unheard by
Culture Anti-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. Many are calling for a démission from the MP, but he refuses to budge and has even defended his inaction after spending three months to develop a roadmap for reopening UK theatres that has been widely panned and branded as a tone-deaf joke.