COVID-19 Resources

April 8th, 2020

LAST UPDATED: 18th August 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.  As we work to get our industry back on its feet, we’ve updated this page to contain the most relevant information we can find, and 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 your musical theatre plans and ambitions, funding options, ideas about staying digital and working through this time, and what other support might be available.  Members of MTN and MMD are entitled to a bespoke advice-giving session with Emily (for MMD members) or James (for MTN members) – do get in touch if you would find a conversation useful.

ENGLAND & UK-WIDE – Freelancers & Individual Applications

Arts Council England (ACE) have reopened National Lottery Project Grants, which individual artists and practitioners, community and cultural organisations, museums and libraries can apply for.

This is a rolling programme with £59.8 million available until April 2021, and there are no deadlines on applying for the funding. The guidance has been updated since the programme closed to make emergency funds available.

Read more: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/projectgrants

ACE’s Developing Your Creative Practice fund is reopening in Autumn 2020, and a Support for Freelancers fund of £2million will be set up in the autumn as well. Keep an eye on the Arts Council page for more information: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding

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  

If you are not eligible for the Musicians Union hardship fund, there is further financial support and advice available here: https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Home/Advice/covid-19/financial-support-musicians

The PRS Emergency Relief Fund has closed, but the Members’ Fund will continue to offer its services to support PRS members with crisis grants, career change advice, sheltered housing and mental health counselling.

Read more: https://www.prsmembersfund.com/support/

A reminder that applications for the next round of PRS Foundation‘s Open Fund for music creatives are due by 5th October and applications for their Women Make Music fund are also next due by 5th October.

Help Musicians UK have launched a second round of funding support for those ineligible for government emergency safety nets or unable to survive on what they receive. There are three avenues for applying: ‘I am accepted or applying for Universal Credit’, ‘I am not eligible for Universal Credit but am experiencing significant financial hardship’ or ‘I have complex needs that go beyond financial hardship and would like to speak with a caseworker’.

Please read the guidance carefully around the avenues for applying, the terms and conditions and how to discuss with Help Musicians: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/news/latest-news/advice-relating-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Current opportunities open through Help Musicians UK are also available at https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/creative-programme/current-opportunities

The Theatre Community Fund has been established to support the theatrical artists and professionals whose livelihoods and creative futures have been threatened in the wake of Covid-19. This fund will be separated into two priority strands giving grants of up to £3000:

1.    HARDSHIP grants in partnership with the Fleabag Support Fund
2.    CREATIVE AND INNOVATION grants

Grants will be distributed in partnership with the Royal Theatrical Fund. Applications for hardship grants will open monthly for five days, and creative and innovation grants will open in late 2020 or early 2021, with the exact date to be agreed. Keep an eye on the website for the next reopening: https://www.theatrecommunityfund.com/

SCOTLAND

The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development from Creative Scotland 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  

Creative Scotland also offer Targeted Funds which exist to support specific activities, for example, a specific art form or type of work, or to help meet a strategic need or gap.

Find out more: https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/targeted-funding

WALES

The Arts Council of Wales, as part of the Welsh Government’s £53m emergency fund, are investing £27.5m to help organisations stay afloat during Covid-19.

The fund is made up of two grants:

Covid-19: Revenue Support for Arts Organisations

Covid-19: Capital Support for Arts Organisations

These organisations can be not‑for‑profit and commercial but must be able to demonstrate they offer publicly accessible arts activity in Wales, and that they have been significantly affected by Covid‑19. The central purpose of this fund is to sustain organisations facing the threat of closure and help them to resume activity in 2021 and beyond.

More information: https://arts.wales/news-jobs-opportunities/arts-council-wales-cultural-recovery-fund-opens-for-applications

Keep an eye on whether Arts Council of Wales has reopened its standard funding routes – the funding was suspended for six months in April 2020 to respond to the most urgent needs.

More info: https://arts.wales/funding/get-started

ENGLAND

Organisations  

The Cultural Recovery Fund: Grants Programme which was established by DCMS and will be administered and awarded by Arts Council England. The total fund is up to £500 million, with grants from £50,000 to £3 million. There are two rounds for the grant, open to cultural organisations, both for profit and non-for-profit, based in England.

Round One opened at 12pm (midday), 10 August and closed at 12pm (midday), 21 August.

Round Two opened at 4pm 21 August and closed 12pm (midday), 4 September.

Around 75% of the funding is expected to be awarded in round one.

Read more: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/culture-recovery-fund-grants

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 

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  

OTHER FUNDS

Acting for Others is an umbrella organisation for 14 theatrical member charities – find out more about the charities and their offers of support: https://www.actingforothers.co.uk/member-charities

The Theatre Artist Fund is currently closed for applications, but a second round is expected – keep an eye on the website https://theatreartists.fund/

The Royal Variety Charity is offering nation wide financial assistance to anyone who serves any facet of the Entertainment Industry, should they find themselves experiencing unforeseen financial hardship as a result of ill-health. https://www.royalvarietycharity.org/news/detail/assistance-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

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  

SOLT and UK Theatre have brought together leading theatrical charities to centralise information about how and where you can access support if you work in the theatre industry at https://theatresupport.info/

UK Covid-19 Freelance Artist Resources List is a collection of links to resources to help freelance creatives and artists during the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

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.