Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Colman set up theater fund during coronavirus lockdowns
Emilia Clarke, Tom Hiddleston, Daniel Radcliffe, and more made donations to help support struggling freelance theater professionals.
Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Oscar winner Olivia Colman — who featured on the Emmy-winning series adaptation of Waller-Bridge's play — have teamed up to support freelance professionals in the U.K. theater community against on-going coronavirus-prompted closures.
Along with Francesca Moody, the stars have set up the Theatre Community Fund, which seeks to financially help theatrical artists weather the present storm by providing hardship grants for immediate need, in addition to easing long-term disparities by setting up innovation and creation grants so artists can produce work. These individual grants will total up to £3,000.
This week alone saw the closure of The Phantom of the Opera in London's West End amid overall theater shutdowns due to concerns over the global COVID-19 pandemic. The closing was a major blow to the industry, as the production had remained open for a 34-year streak.
The Theatre Community Fund has currently raised £500,000 with a £1 million pledge from the founding donors. Those include actors Gillian Anderson, Tom Hiddleston, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Rebecca Hall, James McAvoy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Radcliffe, Rachel Weisz, Andrew Scott (another Fleabag-er), Daisy Ridley, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson.
The money will be overseen and dispersed by the Royal Theatrical Fund and Waller-Bridge's Fleabag Support Fund, which she started this past April to support theater professionals. The actress and wordsmith had also previously made her Fleabag play available for a limited time on Amazon for purchase to raise money for coronavirus relief.
The full list of donors are as follows: Gillian Anderson, Jesse Armstrong, Tim Bevan, Hugh Bonneville, Stephen Boxer, Danny Boyle, Jim Carter, Emilia Clarke, James Cordon, Stephen Daldry, Arthur Darvill, Shaun Dooley, Anne-Marie Duff, Jane Featherstone, Eric Fellner, Tania Franks, Emma Freud and Richard Curtis, Romola Garai, Rebecca Hall, David Hare, David Harewood, Kit Harrington, Jonathan Harvey, Keeley Hawes, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hollander, Tony Hopkirk, Suranne Jones, Katherine Kelly, Robert Lindsay, Lucy Lumsden, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James McAvoy, Matthew McFadyen, Ian McKellen, Sean Mathias, ATG Productions, David Morrissey, Josh O'Connor, Al Petrie, Daniel Radcliffe, Daisy Ridley, Andrew Scott, Imelda Staunton, Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, Russell T Davies, Emma Thompson, Harriet Walter, Rachel Weisz, Jodie Whittaker and Christian Contreras, and David Yates.
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