Theatre impresario Cameron Mackintosh has added a further £500,000 in additional support from his Foundation to the Theatre Artists Fund.

The fund, which was created last July by director Sam Mendes, Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre, provides emergency financial aid to the freelancers who make up an estimated 70 per cent of the theatre sector.

Mackintosh 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 latest round of Theatre Artists Fund grant applications is currently open until March 30, with eligible freelancers in need able to apply for an individual grant of £1,000.

King’s Head Theatre

King’s Head Theatre has launched its own streaming platform to raise funds for the artists and companies involved in the productions.

The platform will show five Plays for Film, which will be shot at the north London venue, with more than 50 per cent of ticket sales going to those involved. The rest of the funds from ticketing will be used to support the theatre.

King’s Head executive director Fiona English said: “We’re overjoyed to announce our first all-digital season, Plays on Film. We believe these five incredible shows, and the extraordinary theatremakers who created them, deserve the global audience that an online platform can provide.

“We’re looking forward to working with the companies to realise the potential of filmed theatre on the fringe – as an art form in its own right to be enjoyed by audiences anywhere, at any time. With KHTV, distance never means disconnection for our audiences.”

The first three films will be available to watch from April 15 to May 5, with the remaining two available from April 22 to May 12.

Tickets cost between £10 and £18, with a season pass for all five shows costing £60.

Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London has unveiled its 2021 reopening plans, with several new safety measures in place.

The outdoor theatre will look to begin welcoming audiences from May 19, after closing almost exactly a year ago on May 18, 2020.

The summer season opens with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, followed by Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night.

The Globe is introducing protocols for a safe return to live theatre for audiences including staggered arrival times, allocated entrances, no intervals, pre-ordered drinks, and for the initial period of opening there will be seating in the Yard.

Despite reduced capacity there are still limited tickets available at £5.

Image: Neil Howard / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Edited for size