Umbrella charity Acting for Others has received a £50,000 donation from the Noël Coward Foundation to mark the centenary of the playwright’s first produced play.
Acting for Others is made up of 14 member charities, however the foundation’s grant will be split between the Actors’ Children’s Trust and the Royal Theatrical Fund, specifically to support theatre workers in "extraordinarily difficult circumstances" as a result of Covid-19.
Coward was among the charity’s early supporters, alongside Richard Attenborough and Laurence Olivier, when it was founded in 1963, as the Combined Theatrical Charities.
The foundation’s chair Alan Brodie said: "This current crisis has caused us to postpone events we had planned to celebrate the centenary of Noël Coward’s first play. Noël was a leader in the theatrical community organising events and bringing together his colleagues and celebrity friends to fundraise in support of the industry, so it feels fitting to use the available funds during this time to support the theatrical profession he loved so much."
Coward’s play I’ll Leave It To You was his first full-length work to be staged, and was produced at the New Theatre – now the Noël Coward – in July 1920.
Acting for Others chair Stephen Waley-Cohen said the charity was "delighted" with the award.
"Noël Coward was one of our Founders and 55 years later, recognising this connection, we are deeply grateful for this support, which will be of great benefit to those in need who are supported by our member charities."