Theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh has made a £500,000 donation to a fund to support workers in the theatre industry.
The Theatre Artists Fund was created by director Sir Sam Mendes in July last year to support freelancers working in the sector.
The fund allows the workers to apply for grants of £1,000 to help pay bills and buy food.
Sir Cameron said: “Though the Government’s exemplary vaccine programme has shown that there is now light at the end of the tunnel, the probability is that it will still be over seven months before the West End has the majority of its major shows back.
“This latest grant from my foundation, a year after our industry was closed down, will hopefully help some of our hard-hit freelancers to get through until we can employ them again, provided there are no further shutdowns which would be catastrophic.
“My theatre and production companies have also during this last year supported hundreds of jobs throughout the closure of our theatres and productions, to ensure that our historic buildings and world-renowned productions are ready to come back as soon as we have a permanent instruction from the Government to do so.
“The resilience and spirit of everyone working in the theatre during this gruelling time has been quite inspirational, as has the amazing patience and enthusiastic support of the public who continue to book seats, demonstrating that they can’t wait to come back to live theatre as soon as they can.”
Sir Sam said: “We are immensely grateful to the Mackintosh Foundation for this extraordinarily generous contribution.
“Throughout the process of setting up the Theatre Artists Fund, we have been consistently moved by the feeling that the theatre community is pulling together to support and protect its most vulnerable members, and this is a wonderful example of exactly that.”