Ian McKellen will match donations from the public of up to £40,000 as part of a new fundraising campaign to help backstage and front-of-house workers in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Theatrical Guild, a charity which supports offstage workers, has launched the campaign on the Good Exchange online platform.
Donations will be used to support backstage and front-of-house workers with food bills, housing costs, mental health support and other essential needs.
McKellen said: "Many people who work in the theatre industry have seen their livelihoods disappear due to the coronavirus lockdown.
"I, for example, have received a distressing letter from a stage manager who is facing eviction from his home and can’t access government relief. I’ve directed him to the Guild’s website."
McKellen added: "I know that [the Theatrical Guild] will distribute the money I’ve donated to good effect.
"This is a wonderful opportunity, provided by fundraising platform the Good Exchange, to double your donations knowing that every £1 donated will be matched and so will raise £80,000 for the Theatrical Guild to distribute to those most in need."
Adam Bambrough, general manager of the Theatrical Guild, said: “These individuals are the unsung heroes of every staged performance, without whom there would be no shows.
"Their variety of skills from creating costumes, operating lighting rigs, and running the box office, to photographing the shows are what make theatre performances possible.
"Yet, most are low-paid, self-employed or on zero hours contracts so many, through no fault of their own, have fallen between the gaps for government support."
McKellen previously raised £4 million for regional theatres and charities, including the Theatrical Guild, with the tour of his one-man show Ian McKellen on Stage.