Sam Mendes said that Netflix made the initial £500,000 donation to the Theatre Artists Fund, designed to help workers ‘at breaking point’

Sam Mendes is spearheading a fund to help people working in the theatre industry in need of emergency financial support, reports The Independent.

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The fund has been created with the support of streaming giant Netflix who donated £500,000 and is backed by Steven Spielberg and Armando Iannucci. The focus of the fund is to immediately provide short-term relief to theater workers and freelancers across the U.K., particularly people from underrepresented groups that have been disproportionately affected by the lockdowns.

Check out the announcement here

Mendes said, “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.”

The fund 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”.

“The Theatre Artists Fund is not for buildings, or regular staff, but for freelance artists who actually make the shows that the public pay to see. The fund has been initiated by a donation from Netflix and I am extremely grateful for their remarkable generosity and leadership,” the 1917 director further added.

The new fund will provide small grants of $1,250 (£1,000) to struggling theatre workers, who have been ineligible for government aid and have not been able to work since venues closed since early March. To be eligible for the fund, applicants must have worked in theater between January 2019 and 31 March, 2020. Applicants will need to provide information on recent work, as well as a reference, writes Variety.

The theater drive fund comes alongside a newly announced government’s $1.9 billion support package for the arts sector.

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