Our mission is to promote knowledge, experience and appreciation of theatre and drama, and thereby play a part in securing the future of British theatre.

Although the charity was first established in 1967, the recent broadening of our charitable objects means our mission today is new, and we are in the process of building and exploring ways in which to achieve this mission. 

What we support

We seek to fulfil our mission by diverse means, including:

  • supporting new and established theatre companies, including regional and repertory
  • supporting up-and-coming directors, producers, actors, designers and playwrights
  • promoting the works of internationally renowned dramatists, including Shakespeare
  • encouraging theatre-going.

Depending on the circumstances, the above may include financial support, profile-raising through some of the leading names associated with the RTST and awareness-building through our developing social media channels.

We shall be alert to opportunities to promote diversity on and off stage and amongst audiences as a means of pursuing our mission.

We are currently not inviting applications for funding.

What we don’t support

We regret that we are currently unable to support:

  • bursaries for drama students and other student practitioners
  • hardship grants for actors or other theatrical practitioners, whether in work or retired
  • amateur theatre companies or organisations
  • theatre building and redevelopment projects
  • funding of drama schools or youth theatres.
Why do we exist?

British theatre is an invaluable part of our culture and heritage. It is admired globally and has produced some of the world’s leading stars of stage and screen, as well as world-renowned directors, producers, writers and technicians. It brings us drama from the classical canon to ground-breaking contemporary drama. Even in an age of ubiquitous digital media, nothing can compare with the thrill and immediacy of live drama. Yet the theatre faces acute challenges. Beyond London’s West End, it is a sector heavily dependent on central and local government funding, which is in ever-decreasing supply. Theatres, especially those in the regions, are under severe financial pressures which have a significantly adverse effect on their creative capacities and the scale of their productions. Emerging talent is pulled strongly towards working in the better-resourced television and film industries, and the opportunities to develop stagecraft are accordingly reduced. There is a lack of diversity, both on and off stage. Under-resourced theatres and theatre companies struggle to gain optimal publicity for their endeavours. Theatres and theatre companies need to find new ways of raising funds and of attracting audiences and developing the skills of talented theatre professionals who reflect the diversity of our society.

We recognise that there are many charities and benefactors that generously provide grants to theatres. We believe, however, that there is an important role to be played by the RTST as a national charity dedicated to providing financial and other means of support to the theatre – a charity that itself has the benefit of the support and insight of many of the leading names in British theatre.

Although the charity was originally established nearly fifty years ago, we are effectively a new charity engaged in the process of pursuing, developing and exploring ways in which to achieve this new mission, and we have embarked on a new programme of fundraising to support it. For more information on the charity’s history visit Our History page.

The images used on our home page are from the following sources, for which we are very grateful for permission:

  • Noma Dumezweni in Linda, The Royal Court. Photo by Tristram Trenton. Used as header on this page.
  • Sir Ian McKellen in Harold Pinter’s Waiting for Godot (Directed by Sean Mathias)