A charitable foundation has set up the first ever hardship fund for directors who need urgent financial support.
The Directors Charitable Foundation has opened its first call for applications for the new Emergency Support Scheme, under which directors can apply for grants from £100 to £1,000.
Current or former directors in any medium, including stage, TV and film, are eligible to apply for financial support towards urgent medical needs, help with bills, rent or social care.
News of the fund comes after 2015 research by Stage Directors UK showed that half of directors earned less than £5,000 a year.
Earlier this year, West End director Rachel Kavanaugh criticised static levels of pay in the sector, claiming “directors are being taken advantage of”, while the National Theatre’s director Rufus Norris has previously said he did not earn more than £10,000 in a year until he was 36.
Applications for the hardship fund will be assessed by a panel of three DCF board members, and applications can be made on a rolling basis.
DCF trustee Ivor Benjamin said: “Directors experience illness and tragedy in their lives just like everyone else.
“Sometimes they don’t have the means to help themselves and their families, so having a fund like this is really important.”
DCF was set up by three director support organisations – Directors UK, Stage Directors UK and Directors Guild Trust – to help train and develop directing talent, promote the art of directing to the public and assist directors in financial distress.
Thomas Hescott, executive director at Stage Directors UK said: “We already have other organisations set up to help almost anyone else in the industry, but directors slip through most funds.
“There are all sorts of times directors need urgent support. Ten years ago I found myself in a situation where I was having to choose between having an operation and paying the rent.”