Mendes reveals new support plan for creative workers

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Oscar winning director Sir Sam Mendes today announced a new two year bursary to give longer term support to the creative workforce.

The new scheme comes out of a collaboration between the Theatre Artists Fund founded by Mendes last year to help otherwise unsupported freelancers in the theatre sector, and the Backstage Trust.

He made the announcement as he accepted the Sky Arts Individual Award for Innovation in the Arts During the Pandemic.

We want to take what we’ve learned from our work and create a new and permanent way of empowering freelancers for the future” he said. “In the coming months we will be piloting a special bursary programme working to make this fund into a foundation in conjunction with the Backstage Trust to ensure our theatre professionals are championed and included in the way they deserve for the benefit of the UK’s entire cultural sector.”

The fund, part of the charity Theatre Development Trust and administered by SOLT and UK Theatre, has so far given 7,291 emergency grants, having raised just over £7.3m since its inception a year ago. Mendes praised the support of the numerous entities and foundations that helped initiate the Theatre Artists Fund which, he said, continues to provide a lifeline for many and continues to appeal to people’s generosity and support.

Donations can be made at


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