The live production of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag is to be made available online to raise money for charity, as the writer and actor launches a dedicated fund for theatre freelances affected by Covid-19.
The acclaimed show, which Waller-Bridge brought to the West End last year following the success of its television adaptation, has been added to Soho Theatre’s on-demand service for two weeks, with UK and Ireland audiences now able to download the performance.
From April 10 and for two weeks, Fleabag – recorded by National Theatre Live during its run at Wyndham’s Theatre last September – will be added to Soho Theatre On Demand, for audiences in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as on Amazon Prime Video for UK and US viewers.
It will cost £4 per download, with audiences given access for 48 hours.
All proceeds will be distributed among charities including the National Emergencies Trust, NHS Charities Together and Acting for Others, as well as a newly-launched fund dedicated to freelances working in the UK theatre industry who have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
The Fleabag Support Fund will offer individual grants of £2,500, and will continue to raise money outside the streaming initiative in order to help theatre workers in “urgent financial need and unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic”.
Waller-Bridge said: “I hope this filmed performance of Fleabag can help raise money while providing a little theatrical entertainment in these isolated times. Thank you to all our partners and to the creative team who have waived their royalties from this production to raise money for such vital causes in this unbelievably challenging situation.
“All money raised will support the people throughout our society who are fighting for us on the frontlines and those financially devastated by the crisis, including those in the theatre community. Thank you in advance to those who donate. Now go get into bed with Fleabag, it’s for charity!”
Fundraising has been kickstarted by a personal donation from Waller-Bridge, and amounts from Today Tix and an anonymous donor, which total £356,000.
Of the amount raised, 35% will go to the National Emergencies Trust – which funds local charities including food banks and those that support people in isolation – and 35% to NHS Charities Together, which is supporting NHS staff and volunteers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Theatrical umbrella charity Acting for Others will receive 15%, and the final 15% will go to the Fleabag Support Fund.
The streaming project is being delivered by Waller-Bridge, DryWrite, Soho Theatre and Annapura Theatre, in partnership with NT Live and Amazon Prime Video.