TitleRoyal Theatrical Fund Archive
DescriptionRecords of the Royal Theatrical Fund Archive (incorporating the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund) from its consitution in 1839 to the present day.
Date1839 -
AdminHistoryThe Royal Theatrical Fund began in 1839 when four actors meeting for refreshment one evening decided that something had to be done about the large number of actors ending their lives in conditions of appalling hardship and penury. The recent development of the railway network had led to a proliferation of theatres throughout the country and an explosion in the number of actors in the profession. The General Theatrical Fund Association, as it was then called, was incorporated by Royal Charter as a pension fund open to all members of the acting profession and its first chairman was Charles Dickens. The other first trustees were Serjeant Talfourd and Tyrone Power. Members incapacitated by accident or infirmity could claim annuities after they had subscribed for seven years, otherwise, annuities would begin at the age of 60 for men or 55 for women, as, by this point, women were considered 'professionally ineligible'. There were three classes of annuitant: Class C recieved £120 a year, Class B received £80, Class A received £40.

It was also resolved that if a member died at any time after joining, the fund would pay £10 for funeral expenses.

With the passage of time, it became obvious that the terms of the original Charter no longer met the needs of the day. The Fund was therefore reconstituted under a second Royal Charter in 1974, which enables the Board of Directors to award grants, both regular and special, to those members of the theatrical profession who require medical attention or are otherwise prevented from working by circumstances outside their control. Since its reconstitution, The Fund’s scope of beneficiaries has been widened to encompass the entire entertainment world. It now supports applicants whose career have been in ballet, opera, radio and television.

The Royal Theatrical Fund is a member of Acting for Others (The Combined Theatrical Charities Appeals Council).

Extent75 boxes
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