COVID-19 Resources

April 8th, 2020

We are all working through unprecedented times, which can be overwhelming, and we’re working hard with our partners, supporters and members to ensure we can all weather this storm together.  

We’ve done our best to collate the funding support options and resources that are available and may be relevant to our members and the wider musical theatre sector.  

These resources may be relevant to both Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network members, and this page will be updated as we receive new information – this is not an exhaustive list, but we’re hoping this will provide a place to keep everyone informed of what we know, what we can share and what support we can offer you.  

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us during this time – for any Mercury Musical Development enquiries, please email martin@mercurymusicals.com or emily@mercurymusicals.com, Musical Theatre Network enquiries to james@musicaltheatrenetwork.com or membership and communications enquiries for both companies to ellen@mercurymusicals.com

We are able to offer general advice about funding options, ideas about staying digital and working through this time, and what other support might be available.  

Freelancers and individual applications

Arts Council England (ACE) are making £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. The artforms include music, theatre and combined arts, and includes choreographers, writers, translators, producers, editors, freelance educators in the disciplines and artforms we support, composers, directors, designers, artists, craft makers and curators. Grants are available of up to £2,500 each.  

There will be two rounds of this fund, and you can only apply in one.  Read more: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/financial-support-artists-creative-practitioners-and-freelancers 

Musicians Union have set up a £1million hardship fund for current full MU members or MU/NEU joint members, for UK residents who are suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Grants are available for up to £200 initially.  

More information: https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/HardshipFund  

Help Musicians have launched a £5 million hardship fund which has been further supported by Spotify, The Royal Society of Musicians, Arts Council England and Amazon Music. Applicants can receive a one off payment of £500, and it is open to composers/ those directly involved in the production of music, as well as performers, but is not available to students. Please check the guidance carefully to see if this fund would suit your circumstances.   

Applications were on hold over 4 – 6 April while they processed outstanding applications, and reopened on 7 April – keep an eye on their website: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/news/latest-news/advice-relating-to-coronavirus-covid-19   

PRS have launched an Emergency Relief Fund which is available to PRS members globally and will be offered in grants of up to £1000 each. This fund is open to those who have been a PRS writer member for at least two years, have earned at least £500 of PRS royalties within the last two years and are suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  

More information: https://www.prsformusic.com/c/emergency-relief-fund  

Scotland 

Creative Scotland have created an emergency bridging bursary of £2 million, from which individual artists and freelancers who have lost income from their creative work and/or practice due to COVID-19 can apply for between £500 and £2500.  

This fund is currently suspended after its first round of applications, following over 800 requests in three days requesting a total of just under £1.5m of the available £2m funds for the Bridging Bursary. The intention is that the fund will reopen again on Monday 20th April after taking stock of the current requests.  

More information:  https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/bridging-bursary  

There is also the Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development from Creative Scotland, which aims to enable individuals and organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances. Applicants can apply for £1000 and £50,000, for both individuals and organisations, and funding will be open all year round at this stage. 

More information: https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/open-fund-sustaining-creative-development  

Scenes for Survival, launched by the National Theatre of Scotland, in association with BBC Scotland and BBC Arts’ Culture, is a new season of digital short artworks, which will launch new pieces of theatre from creative talents across a series of online platforms and channels over the next few months.  

NTS has posted a call out opportunity for writers to be commissioned to write short new pieces for the project, and an MMD member has confirmed that musical theatre writers/composers/lyricists are also able to apply. 

Read more: https://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/for-artists/writers-call-out  

Wales

The Arts Council of Wales has announced the launch of a Resilience Fund to help the arts in Wales to protect themselves against the impact of the Coronavirus/Covid‑19 crisis, of £7m Resilience Fund jointly financed by the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales. Funding is for both individuals and organisations, and more information  was published on Tuesday 7 April.  

Read more: https://arts.wales/news-jobs-opportunities/arts-resilience-fund-update-more-details-on-our-coronavirus-support-fund    

England

Organisations  

ACE are making £90 million available to all current 2018 – 2022 National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Sector Support Organisations (SSOs). More information is still to come, and ACE will be contacting funded organisations as well.  

Read more: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid-19/financial-support-national-portfolio-organisations 

If you are ACE supported and need some advice or support around adapting to digital communications, working and more, contact their Digital Culture Network team. 

Learn more: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/developing-digital-culture/digital-culture-network 

ACE are also making £50 million available to organisations in the cultural sector, who are not NPOs or SSOs, or Music Education Hubs, who have a track record in publicly funded culture. They can apply for a maximum of £35,000. 

Read more: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/financial-support-organisations-outside-national-portfolio  

If you’re an organisation that needs additional support outside of their funding, ACE have collated a number of these resources.  

Read more:  https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid-19/covid-19-support-organisations-government-and-other-sources  

Funds set up by artists

In addition to these formal options, artists have also rallied to raise money to support their industry.  

Paul Taylor Mills has set up Funds for Freelancers, A financial resource for actors, creatives, and ushers working in theatre. More information on how you can access these funds or support their fundraising: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/fundsforfreelancers  

Bryony Kimmings has done a call out on Twitter – #GigAid. She is matching artists in need with donors who may be able to share a few hundred pounds. Head to her Twitter for more details: https://twitter.com/BryonyKimmings/status/1239286413658673153  

The Soho Theatre have set up the Fleabag support fund, set up by Soho Theatre, to support freelancers during this time – more informaiton will be updated on the website in due course: https://sohotheatre.com/fleabagsupportfund 

Additional appeals set up by artists to support other artists during this time are listed here: https://www.thestage.co.uk/features/promoted/2020/coronavirus-fundraising-sites-supporting-freelance-creatives-during-the-shutdown/ 

Other resources

Arts Council England’s landing page for all Covid19 resources and updates –  https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19 

Creative Scotland’s landing page for Coronavirus advice: https://www.creativescotland.com/what-we-do/latest-news/archive/2020/02/coronavirus-advice  

Additional funds from Creative Scotland, that are still offered during this time: https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/funds-delivered-by-partners  

Arts Council of Wales’ advice page for coronavirus: https://arts.wales/news-jobs-opportunities/arts-council-wales-responding-coronavirus-covid-19  

Help Musicians have a landing page of advice: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/news/latest-news/advice-relating-to-coronavirus-covid-19  

A collaboration between Help Musicians, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, The Ivors Academy, the Music Managers Forum, the Music Producers Guild, the Musicians’ Union, and UK Music, has launched a website created to be a central source of support and advice for all musicians during the coronavirus period: https://www.coronamusicians.info/

SOLT and UK Theatre are currently working to lobby government, support the sector and its workforce in difficult times, and communicate their work with their members, and have recently conducted a survey  reporting on the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on their members.  

The latest news and advice from UK Theatre on Covid19 is published here – https://uktheatre.org/theatre-industry/news/ 

SOLT members can access their advice page through your log on here – https://solt.co.uk/login/?returnurl=%2fmembers-area%2fcoronavirus-covid19-updates-and-guidance%2f  

UK Theatre members can access their advice page through your log on here – https://uktheatre.org/login/?returnurl=%2fmy-uk-theatre%2fmember-resources%2fcoronavirus-covid-19-updates-and-guidance%2f  

BECTU have lots of relevant advice freely available here – https://bectu.org.uk/topic/covid-19-coronavirus/  

Stage One has some useful insights into initial steps taken in response to the current situation from its Chief Executive here – https://www.stageone.uk.com/all-news/a-note-from-our-chief-executive  

PRS have a page on resources during this time – https://www.prsformusic.com/c/help-through-covid-19  

Equity’s list of resources: https://www.equity.org.uk/coronavirus-advice  

A wide range of mental health, wellness, working from home and additional support is also available, through MIND, the British Phonographic Industry, Music for Mental Wealth, Musician’s Union and many more.  

And there are various relevant support and information groups on Facebook including UK Theatre Industry Corona Virus Facebook Group, and many more.

Are you aware of more resources that may benefit other Mercury Musical Developments or Musical Theatre Network Members? Please email them to ellen@mercurymusicals.com to keep this page up to date and to share opportunities with our members.