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ATG Summer party in aid of Sam Mendes and his Theatre Artist Fund raises £90,000

The ATG Summer Party At Kensington Palace Gardens

Last evening Mark Cornell and Sienna Miller presented the Ambassador Theatre Group’s (ATG) Summer Party at Kensington Palace Gardens in support of Sam Mendes and his Theatre Artists Fund (TAF) with an auction hosted by Lord Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sotheby’s. The proceeds from the auction will contribute towards the next round of grants, which will open on Wednesday 8th September enabling the fund to reach more freelance theatre professionals during this early phase of the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.

The ATG Summer Party 2021 continues ATG’s ongoing work with charitable causes, and their passion to nurture and support the current and next generation of industry talent, which is at the heart of their ethos.

Theatre Artists Fund was spearheaded by Sam Mendes and launched in July 2020 to provide emergency support for freelance theatre professionals across the UK in need of urgent and critical financial support due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the theatre sector. Through generous donations and public fundraising, Theatre Artists Fund has so far supported more than 7,200 industry workers affected by the crisis.

Speaking after this evening’s auction, the Theatre Artists Fund’s founder Sam Mendes said “I am incredibly grateful to Mark Cornell and everyone at Ambassador Theatre Group for their support this evening in assisting us to raise more urgent money to go towards our fund. It’s down to the extraordinary work of everyone that has donated so far that we have now raised over £7.4 million and, with the ongoing support, we can reopen the grants again. We pledge to continue helping freelance theatre artists in these unprecedented situations while continuing to develop a new and permanent way to empower freelancers for the future.”

Mark Cornell, ATG’s Chief Executive Officer said “On behalf of everyone at ATG we are proud to have been working with Sam and Theatre Artists Fund for our Summer Party this year to raise money for such an important cause. It’s no secret that the theatre industry and far too many of its remarkable workers have been, and still are, impacted by the pandemic, so the grants from Theatre Artists Fund are crucial in helping change that, through sustaining freelancers until they can get back into employment. I would like to thank Theatre Artists Fund for joining forces with ATG for this event, and thank you to my fantastic co-presenter this evening, Sienna Miller and to Lord Harry Dalmeny for brilliantly hosting the auction.”

Sienna Miller added “It’s been such a joy to co-host the ATG Summer Party with Mark this evening, and to see the generosity of the guests helping raise invaluable money for Theatre Artists Fund during the auction. Theatre has always been a huge passion of mine, and I’ve been saddened to see the impact of the pandemic on so many talented workers within the industryThat’s why the work that Theatre Artists Fund have done, and continue to do is vital as the industry continues to recover, and I’m so glad that the money raised tonight will go towards helping the workers and freelancers, who are the lifeblood of the Theatre industry, get back to where they belong”

The ATG Summer Party in aid of Theatre Artists Fund at Kensington Palace Gardens, was attended by theatre industry figures and supporters who donated generously during the auction, bidding on items including a trip to the set of Sam Mendes’ new film Empire of Light starring Olivia Colman and Michael Ward. A two-night stay at the iconic The Dorchester hotel, and two top-tier entry passes to the elusive Kit Kat Club, home to the highly anticipated production of Cabaret, starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley. Two business-class return flights to New York, for the opening night of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, with an exclusive ‘meet and greet’ photo opportunity with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, and a chance to step through the door of the red windmill and experience a first-class full-service hospitality package for ten at the spectacle that is Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

In addition to the auction prizes, Providence Equity Partners, the owners of Ambassador Theatre Group, generously donated a further £25,000 to the fund to achieve a significant total of £90,000 raised for Theatre Artists Fund.

All proceeds raised from the auction at the ATG Summer Party will go directly to Theatre Artists Fund, which is administered by the UK Theatre Association and the Society of London Theatre on behalf of the Theatre Development Trust (TDT).

Guests in attendance at the ATG Summer Party included Aimee Atkinson, Alice Eve, Bay Garnett, Bertie Carvel, Caro Newling, Carrie Cracknell, Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul, Dame Pippa Harris, David Baddiel, David Hare and Nicole Farhi, Dominic West, Eddie and Hannah Redmayne, Emma Squire CBE, George Osborne CH and Thea Rogers, Griff and Jo Rhys Hones, Helen George and Jack Ashton, Jane Horrocks and Esther Coles, Jenna Coleman, Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE, Julia Cheng and Dickson Mbi, Lady Antonia Fraser CH, DBE and Benji Fraser, Lia Williams and Angus Wright, Liza Sadovy, Louisa Parker Bowles, Lord Neil Mendoza, Mark Gatiss, Michael Landes, Neil Tennant, Nicolas Brown, Nima Telaghini, Omari Douglas, Phil Edgar-Jones, Rob Brydon, Ronni Ancona, Rupert Gavin, Rupert Goold, Sam Lister, Sam Mendes (Founder, Theatre Artists Fund) and Alison Balsom, Sienna Miller (Co-host) and Archie Keswick, Simon Curtis and Elizabeth McGovern, Susan Hampshire CBE, Sir Lenny Henry and Lisa Makin, Sir Nicholas Hytner, Tamara Rojo, Tom and Sabrina Stoppard, Trevor Eve and Trevor Nunn.

Sam Mendes announces development of theatre artists fund into two-year pilot bursary programme

Theatre Artists Fund

At today’s South Bank Arts Awards, in recognition of his leadership in the creation of the Theatre Artists Fund, Sam Mendes was awarded the Sky Arts Individual Award for Innovation in the Arts During the Pandemic.  Accepting the Award, Mendes announced the development of a two-year pilot bursary scheme offering longer-term support to the cultural workforce. Theatre Artists Fund is working in conjunction with Backstage Trust on this scheme. This new program has a specific goal of empowering theatre workers and freelancers to be part of the next stage of recovery. It aims to create multiple employment opportunities and to include specific involvement and guidance from theatre practitioners across the entire sector. Initially, a two-year pilot scheme will seek to reinforce equality, inclusion and diversity focus and encourage peer support in the freelance community and organizations and skills development. Further details will be announced later this year.

Mendes said: “We want to take what we’ve learned from our work and create a new and permanent way of empowering freelancers for the future…In the coming months, we will be piloting a special bursary program 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 Theatre Artists 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 £7.3million since its inception in July 2020. The financial security of many thousands of vital theatre artists remains in grave peril as the continuing uncertainty created by the pandemic and the Government’s response to it makes finding and keeping work extremely difficult. During his announcement, Mendes cited the extra-ordinary support of the numerous entities and foundations that helped initiate the Theatre Artists Fund and hoped they would continue their support ongoing. The fund continues to provide a lifeline for many and continues to appeal to people’s generosity and support. Donations can be made at https://theatreartists.fund/donate/