The Theatrical Guild (TTG) has today announced a new fundraising initiative spearheaded by a match funding £40,000 donation from Sir Ian McKellen to support backstage and front of house theatre workers to help with food bills, housing costs, mental health services and other basic essentials. Sir Ian selected The Theatrical Guild as one of several British theatre charities to receive donations from the proceeds of his one-man show “On Stage: With Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and You!” and is calling on everyone who has attended a theatrical production in the past to put their hands in their pockets and so double his donation to raise £80,000 to distribute to those most in need.

Speaking on the importance of this fundraising appeal, Sir Ian 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. I’ve directed him to the Guild’s website.” As to the awarding of the matched funds to TTG he said, “I know that you will distribute the money I’ve donated to good effect. This is a wonderful opportunity, provided by fundraising platform The Good Exchange, to double your donations knowing that every £1 donated will be matched and so will raise £80,000 for The Theatrical Guild to distribute to those most in need.”

In these troubling times of the global pandemic, theatre productions are “on hold” until the end of the year, possibly until 2021, and all production work has been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Indeed, Sir Cameron Mackintosh has announced that his shows will not re-open till 2021. Sonia Friedman, producer of some of the most successful theatre productions in the West End and on Broadway, has predicted that without urgently needed government support 70% of performing arts companies will be out of business by Christmas. This is devastating news and there is a huge and growing requirement to support the individuals whose skills and commitment make up the backbone of the theatre industry.

Adam Bambrough, General Manager of TTG 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.”

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