Amazon pledges £500k to Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Colman theatre fund

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Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller-Bridge set up the Theatre Community fund to support creative industry workers: Getty Images
Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller-Bridge set up the Theatre Community fund to support creative industry workers: Getty Images

A fund set up by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Colman to support theatre workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic is to receive £500,000 from Amazon Prime video.

The streaming service, which hosts hit series Fleabag outside the UK, is also donating £1 million to the UK’s creative community as a whole.

Colman and Waller-Bridge said they were “utterly blown away” by Amazon’s “extraordinary level of support”.

In total, the firm is donating £4.6million to all those involved in theatre, film and TV across Europe.

Amazon Prime is donating millions to support the creative community across Europe (AFP/Getty Images)
Amazon Prime is donating millions to support the creative community across Europe (AFP/Getty Images)

Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said: “The creative community in Europe has been vital to our success in producing high-quality Amazon original TV series and movies for our global audience, and it is essential for us to help that community through this pandemic.

“We’ve made our first donations of £1.5 million today to provide support to the talented freelancers from the UK’s creative community who have been directly affected by the closure of theatres and halt in TV and film production.

“As we gear up production on a number of Amazon original series across the UK and Europe in the coming months, we’re committed to continuing to support Europe’s talented creative community through this crisis.”

A £1 million donation to the Film and TV Charity will help kick-start a new grants scheme where eligible individuals will be able to apply for up to £4,500 as part of a package of support that will enable those hit hardest by the shutdown to remain in the industry.

The charity is now calling on the industry and individual donors to come forward and add to the donation from Amazon Prime Video, and has set a goal of raising £3.2 million.

Its £500,000 donation will go to the Theatre Community Fund, which was set up by Waller-Bridge and Colman alongside producer Francesca Moody.

The money will be shared out by the Royal Theatrical Fund in partnership with the Fleabag Support Fund – divided into hardship grants of up to £3,000 to theatre workers and freelancers across the UK.

Colman, Waller-Bridge and Moody said: “We’re utterly blown away to have such an extraordinary level of support from Amazon.

“Our theatre community has never been more threatened or fragile, and this donation, alongside those from other industry individuals, is a game-changer for its future.

“On behalf of the Theatre Community Fund, we extend a huge thank you to Amazon for the acknowledgement of the value and power of UK theatre and how we as an industry will survive anything when we hold each other up in times of crisis.”

Film and TV Charity chief executive Alex Pumfrey said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Amazon for demonstrating such huge support for people working in television and film at this most difficult time for the industry.

“This fantastic donation to the Film and TV Charity will kick-start a new fund to support the diverse talent in our industry through the recovery process.

“We know that the pandemic has a disproportionate impact on people who are already under-represented in our industry and that we must take action to prevent even greater inequality.

“There is a time-limited opportunity to protect the diversity of our industry for the future and I hope that others will seize this moment to contribute to our Covid-19 response.”

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5,000 theatre workers have lost their jobs due to coronavirus

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