Netflix donates £500k to SOLT and UK Theatre's "Artists Fund" led by Sam Mendes
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have jointly announced a new scheme to support "those who have been ineligible for Government aid and have not been able to work since theatres closed on 16th March due to COVID-19."
Spearheaded by award-winning film and theatre director Sam Mendes and supported by a £500k donation from Netflix, the Theatre Artists Fund will distribute small grants to practitioners who have had nowhere else to go for help.
The news comes after Mendes pressured Amazon, Netflix, and other streaming services last month to support the theatre industry after making millions during the UK's lockdown.
Netflix rises up to Sam Mendes' challenge with £500k donation in support of the Theatre Artists Fund
The new fund announced by SOLT and UK Theatre will aid those who have been unable to work since 16 March when venues first went dark due to coronavirus.
Theatre workers who have been unable to support themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic and who have not qualified for existing government support will receive £1000 in grant money, it has been confirmed. Fund applicants must have worked in theatre between the beginning of last year and 31 March 2020 to qualify for the grant.
Netflix's Anne Mensah: "British theatre is a vital cultural force"
Sam Mendes made a statement on the new scheme: "Thousands of theatre professionals in the UK are struggling. Many of them haven't been able to get help from the existing Government schemes, and the situation continues to worsen. They need help now.
"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."
Anne Mensah, Vice President, UK Original Series at Netflix, stated: "British theatre is a vital cultural force, not least because so many emerging talents and original ideas begin life on the stage. Creativity is all about collaboration, and we are deeply concerned by the challenges our friends in the theatre now face, especially in the regions, and the likely consequences for the diverse voices and stories at the heart of our culture."
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