The Backstage Trust

Funding for feasibility studies in England and Wales for capital projects, advice on fundraising and developing a case for support, advice and information to help with the professional development of small to medium sized arts organisations, and helps arts groups working with disadvantaged children and young people.

Application deadline: none – applications may be made at any time.

The Backstage Trust provides grants to registered charities (or to activities that have charitable aims) across England and Wales for projects involving the live performing arts, mainly theatre and music. Most grants are awarded proactively and provide support in diverse areas.

The majority of grants awarded since the Trust was established come under one of the following headings:

  • Providing advice and mentoring to help with professional development of small and medium scale arts organisations.
  • Providing advice on fundraising, recruiting development staff and preparing a case for support.
    Feasibility studies for capital projects, and
  • Assisting live arts projects involving disadvantaged children and young people.

Applicants should demonstrate clearly the potential viability of their project, and provide evidence showing that the organisation has the capacity to use charitable funding in the most effective way.

The Trust will expect to see evidence of fundraising plans, and to know that while Backstage might act as a catalyst to encourage other grant-giving bodies, it should not be regarded as sole funder.

A critical need for most arts organisations — in addition to enthusiasm, energy and a determination to make a difference — is professional advice providing support in areas where they, understandably, are unable to access or afford professional guidance. Backstage can provide guidance for:

  • Fundraising.
  • Human Resources law.
  • Setting up a capital project, and
  • Many other areas where paying for professional help would be beyond their means.

While performing arts will remain a primary focus for Backstage, the Trust is open to suggestions which relate to other ways in which the arts can touch society.

During the year ending 5 April 2018 the Trust approved 43 grants totalling totalled £2,100,000.

Please note: the Trust does not maintain a website. Further information is, however, available on the Charity Commission website.

The Trust meets twice during the year to make grants and to review investments.

For further information about the Trust and the support available, contact:

Lady Suzy Sainsbury
The Backstage Trust
North House
27 St Peter Street


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