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Ballet - Ballet

Member Spotlight: Acting for Others

As one of our newest members, we spoke to Acting for Others about their history and the work they are doing to assist performers and theatre workers at this difficult time. 

Tell us a bit about your charity’s history

The Combined Theatrical Charities Appeals Council was founded in the 1960s by the legendary Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward and Richard Attenborough. They had the idea to use a single fundraising event to benefit all the theatrical charities. We are very thankful that they did and that we have been able to honour their legacy and continue to support our profession for over 55 years.

Under its President Lord Attenborough, eighteen years ago, The Combined Theatrical Charities Appeals Council was revitalised and became Acting for Others. This was the beginning of our annual bucket collections. Almost every theatre in London and throughout the country held collections during the last weeks of October and they continue to do so with new theatres joining, year on year.

Even now we still have a connection with our founders, most recently Noel Coward. We were delighted that through The Noel Coward Foundation, Acting for Others has generously been awarded £50,000 on the proviso that it is shared between Actor’s Children’s Trust, as Noel was president of the Actors Orphanage from 1935-1955 and The Royal Theatrical Fund, specifically to support backstage and front of house workers.

Acting for Others continues to be innovative. Now with a number of events throughout the year; our annual theatre bucket collections, the West End Flea Market and The Ivy – One Night Only, alongside many brilliant fundraisers from our generous supporters.

We have collected and shared the astonishing sum of £3 million with our member charities since A4O formed.

We are thrilled that from the funds raised in 2019, this year we have been able to dispense over £270,000 to the member charities, the second highest disbursement since Acting for Others began.

Who do you fundraise for?

We are primarily here to raise vital funds for our 14 member charities, all with their own remit. Between them they support everyone in theatre, whatever their profession; actors, dancers, backstage staff, front of house workers. We’re all here to support theatre workers financially and emotionally, if the worst happens.

What is the role of your Ambassadors?

Our Ambassadors play an integral part in raising awareness of A4O, looking out for those in need and directing them to us. One of our Ambassadors, Leon Robinson, Stage Door keeper at The Gillian Lynne Theatre, approached us on behalf of a dancer friend in desperate need. We got in touch with a number of the member Charites and between them they were able to save the beneficiary’s home, provided counselling, and start them on the way to a new career with professional retraining. That’s exactly what our Ambassadors are about, to be our eyes and ears in our community and also why we have Ambassadors from all realms of the profession; Directors, Choreographers, Producers, Presenter, Singers and Actors.

What is your charity working on now?

We’re always working to raise awareness of Acting for Others and reach those people who need us most as well as responding to those in crisis. Our small team are looking ahead and sharing ideas for new events to excite theatre fans and raise funds. We are humbled to have so many incredible supporters, particularly at this time of uncertainty. Songs are being written, musicals and plays are being streamed, fans are getting creative making jewellery, t-shirts, tote bags, West End performers are offering workshops and Masterclasses, all in aid of A4O. It really is a wonderful sense of community and solidarity. Our supporters are an integral part of the theatrical family, the work we do and the funds that are raised.

The funds being raised at present are being made available to the 14 member charities so that they can directly support those theatre workers affected by COVID-19.

We are also delighted to be one of the recipients of the ‘Fleabag for Charity’ campaign. The live performance of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, filmed at Wyndhams theatre, is currently available to watch for £4 with proceeds going to charities to support those affected by COVID-19.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of those incredible people fundraising and donating to Acting for Others at this time. Thank you all!

What issues are of concern to you at the moment?

Our main priority is to be there for all of those theatre workers that need us at this difficult time. We need them to know that Acting for Others is there for them and we are using every opportunity to make our presence known and reach out to the theatrical community.