Here’s a terrific initiative to encourage creatives at earlier stages of their career to remain in the creative sector, with a valuable package of support through 2021.

This new fund, worth £660k, will support at least 33 exceptional individuals over 12 months with awards of £20,000 to support them in the work of adapting their approach to making and sharing live work. It is for artists, creatives and producers with no more than ten years’ experience, based anywhere in the UK, whose practice before Covid-19 focused and relied on live performance. This includes those with artistic/creative practices based in music, theatre, opera, circus, dance, live art and performance as well as those who work in the gaps between these disciplines. It has been stated that around half of the funding will go to music creators.

The Live Work Fund brings together Jerwood Arts, Wolfson Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Linbury Trust, four independent funders who share a common aim to substantially support individuals whose work relies on live performance following the impact of Covid-19.

Might you, or someone you know, be interested in applying? If so, please share the news with them as soon as you can, to give them time to reply.

Application is free and the Application Deadline is 5pm, Monday 16 November


You can help #SaveOurTheatres – but hurry -Crowdfunders end soon!

With the furlough scheme being reduced and no date in sight for theatres to fully reopen, many theatres across the country are facing huge challenges. The government’s much-delayed, degradingly competitive, flawed and penny-pinching settlement made available to the theatres and entertainment sector of our economy left many theatres with nothing for their trouble in applying. Hundreds of organisations were left with empty hands, many others with next to nothing. The total amount available (less than was given to just one airline) is but a fraction of what is genuinely needed for the sector to make it through this uncertain time.

It’s truly heart-warming to see that the theatre-loving public has rushed to support independent fundraising initiatives such as the Crowdfunders mentioned below, with many theatres achieving their targets and more. But others are struggling, and they desperately need your help to be in with a chance of survival.

If you, like me, love theatre and care about protecting the UK’s theatres, there are a number of ways you can show your support:

Make a donation to your local theatre if it is running a #SaveOurTheatres campaign. Check out participating theatres here .

If your local theatre isn’t able to partcicipate, consider contacing them directly if you want to specifically offer them support. memberships are a great way to dot this and will bring you benefits once your theatre is up and running again. Alternatively, you can donate to Theatres Trust’s campaign, which will help fund their work to give free advice to all of the UK’s theatres and make grants to help theatres with reopening costs, which they have already started to do.

Crowdfunder campaigns often offer rewards such as membership, merchandise or exclusive events, so it is well worth checking out the scheme to see if you can help theatres and pick up a great Christmas present for a loved one (or yourself) at the same time!

All donations large or small are hugely appreciated- and every one will make a difference!

For anyone unsure of where to donate, my personal suggestion would be London’s Finborough Theatre which has won international acclaim by presenting rediscoveries alongside cutting-edge work, usually to five-star reviews and sold-out houses. They are still a way off their fundraising target (which ends November 8th), and they offer membership rewards, so please do take a look at their funding appeal here . Donations to this appeal are also being matched, so your donation is doubled – a great way to make more of a difference!

Many individual fundraising campaigns are benefitting from match-funding, which means that any donation you make will be matched and therefore doubled in value to the venue benefitting. Various organisations such as the Architectural Heritage Fund and many others are stepping up in this way, as well as a number of anonymous donors, which is a great way to support the drive to secure our theatrical heritage for the future.

If you are not able to make a donation yourself, don’t worry- you can still get involved:

Undertake a fundraising challenge of your own, giving the money raised to the #SaveOurTheatres Crowdfunder – find inspiration from others who’ve already done this and sign up here.

Or you can share details of the campaign with your family, friends and colleagues on social media to help spread the word using the hashtag #SaveOurTheatres

Thanks for helping – together we can keep the special joy of theatre going – for us, our kids and our grandchildren.



The cast of FRANKENSTEIN: HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER. Photo by Lukas Galantay

Based on a highly-acclaimed stage show, this film captures the essence of BAC Beatbox Academy’s production, where six young performers reinterpret Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein from their own perspective growing up in 21st-century Britain.

Two hundred years after the 18-year-old Mary Shelley wrote the text, these young artists explore how modern monsters are created in today’s society. This musical film is part performance, part documentary, with the cast’s voices as the only instruments. You might be interested to know that the film is co-directed by David Cumming of SpitLip, creators of the cult musical OPEARTION MINCEMEAT.

This show is rated G due to some strong language. The show lasts 30 minutes and is available until November 23rd.


Winners of the Black Theatre Awards 2020 announced

On a busy night for British Theatre, the Black British Theatre Awards were awarded in a ceremony broadcast by Sky Arts channel (Freeview ch 11) on Sunday 25th October.

Personally, I was delighted to see that Nadia Fall really deservedly won Best Director of a Play or Musical for her brilliant production of FAIRVIEW at the Young Vic (see my review here)

I was also very happy to see two rising stars who are in my personal favourite list being honoured – Cherrelle Skeete was awarded Best Supporting Female Actor for her nuanced performance in THE HIGH TABLE (see my review here) and Rachel Nwokoro (who I enjoyed hugely in LITTLE BABY JESUS for which which she recently won The Stage’s Debut Award (see my review here) at the Orange Tree in Richmond) was presented with the Disability Champion Award.

Best Male Actor in A Play was Valentine Olukoga for THE FISHERMEN at Trafalgar Studios, and Best Female Actor in a Play was Rakie Ayola for ON BEAR RIDGE at the Royal Court (see my review here).

DEATH OF A SALESMAN was awarded Best Production Play, whilst the award for Best Male Actor in a Musical went to Noah Thomas for his performance in EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE and Best Female Actor in a Musical was won by Miriam Teak-Lee for her work in & JULIET, scooping a double win on the same evening she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the same show.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!


Women and musicals triumph at 2020 Olivier Awards

The awards ceremony staged at the London Palladium on Sunday October 25th was a very different affair to its predecessors. Stripped of an audience, the interplay reminded us of what we – and every theatre up and down the country – were missing; the excitement of being there in the room, together.

Awards-wise musicals DEAR EVAN HANSEN and & JULIET scored three awards each, with HANSEN picking up Best Actor for Sam Tutty, Best Musical and Best Original Score, while & JULIET scooped for Miriam Teak-Lee as Best Actress, Cassidy Janson as Best Supporting Actress and David Bedella as Best Supporting Actor. MARY POPPINS took two awards (for Stephen Mear and Sir Matthew Bourne as Best Choreographers, and for Bob Crowley winning Best Set Design).

PRESENT LAUGHTER won Best Actor for Andrew Scott and Best Supporting Actress for Indira Varma, and DEATH OF A SALESMAN interestingly won Best Actress for Sharon D Clarke (who is the first person to be nominated in all four performing categories and won in three of them) and Best Director for Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell.

In a further significant tribute to female creative talent, EMILIA’s all female team scored three wins Best Entertainment for writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, with Joanna Scotcher winning Best Costume Design and Emma Laxton winning for Best Sound Design. Paule Constable won her fifth Olivier for the lighting design for National Theatre’s production of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and Emma Reeves and Theresa Heskins collected the new award for Best Family Show for The Worst Witch. Outstanding Achievement in Dance was won (from an all-female shortlist) by Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in BALLET FLAMENCO – SOMBRAS at Sadlers Wells.

Personally I was disappointed to see that the wonderful AMELIE did not win any of its three nominated categories (Best Actress for Audrey Brisson, Best Original Score and Best Musical).

It was heartwarming, though, to see Sir Ian McKellen receive his seventh Olivier Award, this time for his 80th birthday tour of UK theatres which also raised substantial funds for the theatres themselves. Can you imagine how much MORE desperate theatres’ plights would have been without this cash injection just before the pandemic!!! We all have a lot for which to be grateful to Sir Ian. From him came the most memorable line of the evening, “A country which cares about its live theatre is a healthy country”.

Yet again the IN MEMORIAM section was badly flawed, notable omissions from this most important roll call (four seconds each on screen, not much for a complete life, eh? Reduced from six seconds a couple of years ago. (In another decade they’ll just send out an email…..)) this year are Bob West and David Grant, two of this country’s most successful and important Company Managers who have kept many a show sailing smoothly over the decades, and allowed producers to sleep easily in their beds at night.

Anyone with insomnia wishing to see the ceremony can do so when it is (seemingly grudgingly) broadcast on ITV on Tuesday 27th October at 11.15pm. Alternatively, you can watch the programme (according to availability in countries outside the UK) on ITVHub on the link below.

So, another awards ceremony over. It seems unlikely we shall see the Olivier Awards again until 2022, which may mean that the competition is even fiercer than usual. Only time will tell. For now, let’s send our congratulations to the winners and all the nominees!