Sir Ian McKellen pledges £40,000 for emergency fund to help theatre workers
Sir Ian McKellen has pledged to donate £40,000 to help people working in theatres across the UK affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
He will give money raised from his triumphant 80th birthday tour of theatres - which included a visit to Wigan Little Theatre - as match funding to help support The Theatrical Guild’s emergency fund.
The cash will benefit people who are the "backbone" of theatres, working back-stage and front-of-house, who may not have received financial support from the Government.
A statement from The Theatrical Guild said: "Many of the people working in back-stage and front-of-house positions in theatres across the UK are low paid, self-employed or on zero hours contracts, and many, through no fault of their own, have fallen between the gaps for available Government support.
"With theatre productions 'on hold' until the autumn, possibly next year, and all production work cancelled for the foreseeable future, there is a growing need to support the individuals whose skills and commitment make up the backbone of the theatre industry."
The theatre industry has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester announcing this week it had started to consult with staff about redundancies, with up to 65 per cent of jobs at risk.
Although born in Burnley, Sir Ian lived in Wigan from a few months old until he was 12 and regularly returns to the town, where a star was installed in the Wigan Walk of Fame in Believe Square.
A superstar of stage and screen, he has played roles as diverse as King Lear, Sherlock Holmes and Magneto in the X-Men movie series.
Donations to The Theatrical Guild's emergency fund can be made hereA message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
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