In the centenary year of Noël Coward’s first produced full-length play, I’ll Leave It To You, the Noël Coward Foundation is donating £50,000 to Acting for Others, an organisation founded in 1963 as The Combined Theatrical Charities. Coward was an early champion of the charity, alongside Richard Attenborough and Laurence Olivier.
The donation is being offered in response to the extraordinarily difficult circumstances that the theatre profession is currently in, and will be distributed to two of Acting for Others’ member charities – the Actors’ Children’s Trust, formerly known as The Actors’ Orphanage, of which Noël Coward was president from 1934 to 1955, and the Royal Theatrical Fund in support of those working off-stage, either in front of house or backstage roles.
Noël Coward said on the opening of his play Blithe Spirit in 1941:
“It’s a special occasion because it proved that in spite of blitzes, discomforts, inconveniences and alarms, the theatre can still function. How proud I am to be able to make even the small contribution of this play towards our universal valiant determination to get on with the job.”
Alan Brodie, Chair of the Noël Coward Foundation, said today, “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. It’s not just actors but everyone connected to the theatre from the creative teams to back stage and front of house workers who needs help and we are therefore pleased to support Acting for Others which has been doing so much to help the many individuals and families in our profession most financially affected by Covid-19.
Noël’s connection with Acting for Others goes back a considerable way and the Noël Coward Foundation looks forward to further collaborations in the future.”
Stephen Waley-Cohen, co-Chair of Acting for Others added, “We are delighted that through the Noël Coward Foundation, Acting for Others has generously been awarded £50,000. 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.”