While the U.K. has pledged over £1.5 billion in grants and loans for arts institutions, Tony and Oscar winner Sam Mendes is spearheading an effort to give directly to freelance artists impacted by the coronavirus-caused shutdown. The writer-director announced the Theatre Artists Fund earlier this month (as previously reported). Since the launch, the initiative has raised £1.6 million (a little over $2 million), to be distributed as a series of one-off £1 thousand grants.
Mendes had initially partnered with donors Netflix, Steven Spielberg, and Armando Iannucci to kickstart the program, with the Peter Saunders and Lady Saunders estate since joining as a headline supporter. Additional major supporters include The Mackintosh Foundation, Eilene Davidson Productions, Sonia Friedman, and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
Through its online portal, the fund has raised over £100 thousand in additional individual donations, including contributions from such British stage and screen luminaries as Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You), John Tiffany (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Oscar winner Emma Thompson, Copenhagen playwright Michael Frayn, and Tony nominee and Olivier winner Mark Strong (A View From the Bridge).
For more information on the short-term relief funds, including how to apply and how to donate, visit TheatreArtists.fund.