ACT’s Trustees are actors who understand how precarious the business is. We understand the difficulty of juggling last-minute job offers with finding childcare for unsocial hours. We understand that almost every actor will experience times of hardship.
Our help is confidential. Even if one of ACT’s Trustees met you at a casting they would never mention our grants or put you on the spot.
We consider every family individually. The only overall restrictions are that ACT does not pay private school fees (including stage school) and ACT is unlikely to award grants if your household income is more than £40,000 a year.
Every child we fund must have a professional actor as a parent – see more information on our eligibility page.
There are four other general situations where a lot of actor-parents seek help.
Many actors are worried about money and simply cannot afford to pay bills or their children’s costs or childcare.
Some seek help paying for school meals, uniform, trips and afterschool clubs. Some families value help with special education support for children, for example a child who is dyslexic or autistic. Some parents have to go through hurdles to even to get special assessments done – we are here to lobby on your behalf, or fund a private assessment. ACT has a particular focus on grants and support for education and special education.
Families often come to ACT because a parent or child lives with a physical disability or has a serious illness.
When an actor-parent has died, ACT can continue to fund their children through to the age of 21. (We support 15 families in this situation at present.)
ACT is proud to sponsor talented children, mostly in sport or performing arts. The cost of top-level sports training is beyond almost any parent’s income and at least £3,000 a year. The funding needed to get through to Grade 8 on a musical instrument can be £10,000 or more.
Worried about money?
ACT can give grants for childcare, clothing, and many other expenses. We can make a small monthly payment towards household costs, and our welfare adviser can help you claim all the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to.
ACT’s help is confidential and the most important thing is that you talk to someone about your situation, rather than let debts and anxiety continue to build up. To find out more, please complete our inquiry form, email email@example.com or call 02076367868 with our assurance of complete confidentiality.
We work closely with other sources of help. For example, if you are not a parent or your money worries don’t affect your children Equity Charitable Trust may be able to help. If you are an actor unable to work because of illness or after an accident, contact the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.
Education & special education
ACT gives termly grants to many families to cover “school extras” such as piano lessons, football club, lunches and uniform. We contribute to the cost of school trips. To find out more, please complete our inquiry form, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02076367868 with our assurance of complete confidentiality.
If you are looking for help with private school fees, please telephone the Education Trust’s Forum helpline 01932 865619, usually open weekday mornings, 9–11 am or visit educational-grants.org.
ACT works with many children and young people with special educational needs. Many youngsters have a learning disability such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or auditory processing disorder. ACT can fund educational psychologist assessments (to avoid the normal waiting list), and contributes to funding for special support, sometimes over many years. It is one of the greatest rewards for staff and Trustees to see a struggling child receive proper support and gradually gain confidence. We also support many children with a physical disability or long-term illness.
ACT funds young adults at college and in apprenticeship schemes and also considers longer help and more specific grants for young people with a disability or learning needs.
Illness & disability
When a parent lives with long-term illness, there are always extra costs, as well as the emotional and physical burdens on their children. It can be a time of isolation and anxiety. Accessing state benefits and support becomes exhausting, if not impossible.
When a child has a chronic illness or has a disability requiring extra care and support, a parent’s life is turned upside down. As an actor, a parent may face even greater uncertainty and loss of income and won’t have the job flexibility they need. The same is often true when a child has a learning disability.
ACT is here for every eligible family affected by illness, accident or disability. We often fund childcare, help you fill out benefit applications, or support you in meetings with social services or at a hospital appointment. We can fund domestic support and respite care. We can provide your children with activities to bring continuity and enjoyment. We can often fund extra equipment, kit and clothing that makes a difference. We fund family holidays, or perhaps a break for you as a parent.
ACT supports families where a parent has died. We can continue funding until the children are 21 and through university or training. When the actor-parent has died some students find ACT’s quiet presence to be a supportive link with the theatrical world of the parent they have lost.
Talented young people
The cost of top-level sports training is beyond almost any parent’s income and at least £3,000 a year. The funding needed to get through to Grade 8 on a musical instrument can be £10,000 or more. Intensive ballet training can be £2,000 per term. We have funded actors’ children who have competed at representative level in sports or followed successful careers in the performing arts.
Sixth form & 16-18
ACT may sometimes be able to increase funding if a student has particular special needs or additional costs. We review the sixth form grant at the end of year 12, and would welcome an application for a university student grant during your A level year.
Parents can apply for a sixth from grant for their child here.
If you are 16-18, the child of an actor, and your parent is unable to apply for you, please apply here.
Awards are made every September and will continue throughout the length of a course. We check your progress at the end of each year. ACT is more likely to fund first degrees than postgraduate courses, but we recognise that some professions may now require a Masters qualification. Part-time and full-time courses are eligible. Students should be based in the UK, although their actor-parent may have worked overseas or in the UK.
ACT usually pays £1,200 per year towards maintenance costs, through three termly payments of £400. We do not pay tuition fees.
We expect students to apply for themselves, not rely on parents! Prospective students should apply here.
“Finances are so tight for drama students because we have evening and weekend engagements that often prevent us taking part-time jobs. I’d recommend every student with an actor-parent to ask ACT about grants.” Phoebe Fox. (Photograph by Wolf Marloh)