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Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Olivia Colman, and theater producer Francesca Moody – who produced the original Fleabag stage show – have launched a support fund for U.K. theater creatives who are struggling financially due to coronavirus.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the support fund has already gathered $1.3 million (£1.0 million) in donations from a sizable list of founding donors.

Actors Andrew Scott, Gillian Anderson, Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Dame Emma Thompson, Sir Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Imelda Staunton and husband Jim Carter, Tom Hiddleston, Emilia Clarke, David Harewood, and Rachel Weisz are among the founding donors.

Killing Eve‘s Dame Harriet Walter, Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and husband Christian Contreras, former Doctor Who companion Arthur Darvill, and former Doctor Who show runner Russell T. Davies are among the founding donors, too. Each founding donor will contribute through an initial lump sum followed by a fixed (and confidential) percentage of their income over the next two years.

The fund is intended to act as a supplement to other schemes helping theater creatives struggling since Covid-19 hobbled the British theater industry. Earlier this week, leading theater producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said that the London production of Phantom of the Opera – which has run for a record 34 years in the West End – will not reopen again following the pandemic. However, the show’s composer and fellow producer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has insisted he is more optimistic about Phantom returning.

Meanwhile, Andrew Scott is also supporting the theater industry by starring in a brand new live streamed play from London’s Old Vic theater.

Are you feeling optimistic about the future of theater post-coronavirus?

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By Nick Levine