Rich Waterworth, General Manager UK & EU
Every day on TikTok we see the breadth and depth of creative talent that the UK has to offer. Often with just the props in their front room, TikTok creators use their creativity, ingenuity and wit to bring to life an idea through video, sharing it with our community to make them laugh, smile or experience something new. And this past year, we've loved seeing so many talents from across the theatre industry join TikTok and bring the spirit of theatre making to our community.
Whether it's icons like Andrew Lloyd Webber and his soon to be Cinderella Carrie Hope Fletcher, emerging talents like Hannah Lowther, or institutions such as the Royal Opera House, the theatre community has been giving us a taste of what many of us have missed this past year - British theatre, in all its forms. Make sure to check out the #theatre hashtag for more from this vital part of the arts.
Sadly, there's no escaping the fact that the arts industry has been brought to a point of crisis by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when theatres are starved of the audiences that make them magical, we must all come together to support the British arts and ensure that a new generation of creative talent is given the opportunity to thrive in the future.
Today, we're announcing the launch of the Future Theatre Fund, created to support the next generation of theatre makers, in partnership with the Evening Standard, London’s most iconic news brand.
The Future Theatre Fund will help kickstart the careers of 12 emerging theatre talents across different disciplines, representing the very best of future British theatre makers. Each recipient will receive £10,000 from the Fund, which will be managed by Act IV, and mentoring to progress their careers in the theatre. The Fund has been designed to award both professionally trained candidates who have spent years developing their craft, as well as those with raw talent, passion and drive to become a success in the industry.
Ten recent graduates will be nominated and selected from the UK's top drama schools and theatre programmes across the country. Two promising candidates will also be selected for the TikTok Breakout Award - the first of its kind to award funding to those who may not have received formal training in drama to begin their career in the arts.
Candidates will be able to submit their nominations on TikTok through a brand new hashtag challenge #TikTokBreakoutStar that goes live on 26th November. People will be able to nominate themselves by creating a TikTok video that brings to life their passion for the industry and showcases the unique creative talent they can offer.
Each recipient of the Fund will undergo a rigorous selection process, led by a panel of experts including icons of British theatre Lord Lloyd Webber, Helen McCrory and Kwame Kwei-Armah alongside Nancy Durrant, arts editor of the Evening Standard, and Paul Roseby, Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre who will chair the panel.
TikTok simply wouldn't be what it is without the UK's creative talent. This Fund is aimed at supporting a sector that makes a vital contribution to the social and cultural fabric of the nation, and comes at a critical time when the next generation of theatre makers is set to bear the biggest long-term impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope this Fund will be the firestarter people need to begin their careers, at a time when the industry really needs support from everyone who values the performing arts and arts funding is more important than ever.
What our partners are saying:
Evgeny Lebedev, Proprietor of the Evening Standard, commented:
"In 2019, the Evening Standard Theatre Awards celebrated the marvellous achievements of London’s theatre for a 65th year. Now in this time of unprecedented pressure for the industry, we are determined to provide tangible support to the sector.
"I am therefore immensely proud that our Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund will support some of the finest emerging talent that will make up the heart of theatre in London’s West End and beyond. This initiative is a crucial investment in our cultural capital that will allow theatre to return with a bang as soon as possible."
Deborah Rosenegk, Chief Client Officer, Evening Standard, added:
"We are delighted to be in a position to support the theatre industry at such a crucial time with the launch of our Evening Standard Theatre Fund in association with our partner TikTok. The Evening Standard has a huge legacy in supporting theatre and we are thrilled to be partnering with TikTok who have confirmed their commitment to nurturing and promoting creative talent in the UK. Together we have created a multi-platform content partnership providing a much needed platform to showcase emerging future theatre makers and their work."