In the 1960s, Laurence Olivier, together with Noël Coward and Richard Attenborough, had the idea of promoting a single annual fund-raising event for all theatrical charities.
The Combined Theatrical Charities Appeals Council was formed to further the work of the member charities and attract donations and legacies for their benefit, in addition to centralising appeals for funds which can in turn be applied where most needed by the member charities.
For every successful actor, there are hundreds of performers, backstage and front-of-house theatre staff who are not so fortunate. They may be suffering from illness, disability, or be caring for children with special needs. Many in our industry lend their support or put their name to other good causes but, like any profession, we also try to take care of our own.
During the last two weeks in October, every year, bucket collections are held in theatres across the country. Audiences are asked by performers 'Acting For Others' to assist with fundraising in aid of their less fortunate colleagues.
Theatres can request buckets and other publicity materials from the Combined Theatrical Charities (please visit the Contact page) and can hold as many collections as they wish during the week. Acting For Others continues to go from strength to strength. Each year more theatres come on board and the funds raised increase accordingly. If three quarters of the UK's theatres were to take part, and make at least three collections during the week, the charities would find their total grants budget increasing by hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Without the help and enthusiasm of many hundreds in the profession, Acting for Others would never have succeeded. Without the support of the managers, producers and above all the performers, none of this would have been possible.