Ian McKellen has launched a fundraising initiative to help backstage and front-of-house workers in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

McKellen aims to raise £80,000 for those left unable to support themselves following the closure of venues earlier this year.

He is donating £40,000 from his triumphant 80th birthday tour of theatres across the UK

McKellen is calling on "anyone who has attended a theatrical production in the past to put their hands in their pockets to raise at least £80,000 for those most in need, with match funding on The Good Exchange platform, every £1 donated by the public will be doubled".

The Good Exchange is a charity that was established 125 years ago to support all the individuals who, with their different skills, are the unsung heroes of every staged performance. Most are low-paid, self-employed or on zero hours contracts so many, through no fault of their own, have fallen between the gaps for available Government support. TTG supports the individuals who create costumes, wigs, props, scenery, operate lighting rigs and sound desks, set the stage, run the box office and bars, usher you to your seats, sell programmes, clean the auditorium, photograph the shows and much more besides. Many are specialist skills and all are vital to enable the curtain to be raised 8 shows a week on theatre productions across the UK.

You can donate here