ACE adds £2m to help freelance musicians and theatre artists

Arts Council England has given £2m to the Theatre Artists Fund (TAF) and Help Musicians’ Financial Hardship Funding programme, set up specifically to help freelancers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Each fund will get £1m. The TAF was set up a month ago by the Society of London Theatre, Theatre UK and the director Sam Mendes with a £500,000 grant from Netflix, and its first round of £1.6m saw 1,600 workers each received £1,000. The fund was now open again with £1.9m available, other donations coming from actors including Jim Broadbent, Michele Dockery and Ralph Fiennes, writers Peter Morgan and Lee Hall, designer Es Devlin and director Phyllida Lloyd.

Help Musicians launched its Financial Hardship Funding programme with £5 million from its own reserves to which ACE added £900k. Phase one offered grants of £500 to over 16,700 musicians; phase two of the programme is currently providing monthly support from July to October to around 3,600 musicians. The Arts Council’s latest contribution will be used to support the launch of phase three in November.

The new ACE contribution follows the distribution of £4m to benevolent funds as part of the initial £160 million Covid-19 Emergency Response Package., and the new endowment is being aimed at freelancers working in the performing arts, the last elements of the sector to fully reopen. Individuals are also able to apply to National Lottery Project Grants, which is open for applications now, and to Developing Your Creative Practice, which will be relaunching in the autumn. Individuals can also apply to National Lottery Project Grants, which is open for applications now, and to Developing Your Creative Practice, which will be relaunching in the autumn.

“Covid-19 crisis has had a huge impact on every part of our cultural sector, but individual artists and freelancers have been especially badly hit” said Simon Mellor, ACE’s deputy CEO. “Supporting them is a priority for the Arts Council, and we're using our limited resources to help.”

 

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