The stage version of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag” — the catalyst for the titanic television hit — will stream to raise money for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning April 10, audiences in the United States will be able to watch the production on Amazon Prime. The live-captured version of “Fleabag,” originally recorded at Wyndham’s Theatre in London, will run for two weeks, and all proceeds made from streaming will be donated to charities, including the National Emergencies Trust (NET), NHS Charities Together and Acting for Others.
“I hope this filmed performance of ‘Fleabag’ can help raise money while providing a little theatrical entertainment in these isolated times,” Waller-Bridge said in a statement. “Thank you to all our partners and to the creative team who have waived their royalties from this production to raise money for such vital causes in this unbelievably challenging situation. All money raised will support the people throughout our society who are fighting for us on the frontlines and those financially devastated by the crisis, including those in the theatre community.”
Viewers in the United Kingdom and Ireland can download the play to stream for a minimum donation of £4.00 (though a higher amount can be selected) from Soho Theatre’s on-demand service. Audiences abroad have 48 hours to watch the film once it’s rented.
The move marks the most recent fundraising effort launched by the “Fleabag” creator. Earlier this week, Waller-Bridge organized a grassroots campaign to collect money on behalf of Soho Theatre Company Limited. Titled “Fleabag Support Fund,” the grassroots arm was established to provide grants for freelancers in the United Kingdom’s theater industry who are now without work. Money raised through the show’s streaming stunt will also go toward the “Fleabag Support Fund.”
“Behind the scenes, people up and down the country work hard with sporadic schedules and often-precarious incomes to bring people together in local theatres, communities and schools,” the GoFundMe page reads. “They are the people who are keeping our theatre culture alive and important.”
Aiming to provide relief, the statement continues: “We hope that this will offer a much-needed lifeline to those who are struggling to make ends meet during this difficult time.”
The effort has currently raised £54,724 of its £250,000 goal.
When the writer-actress brought the stage version of her hit series “Fleabag” to New York last spring, the play was met with a sold-out run. Those who were lucky enough to snag a ticket witnessed Waller-Bridge, joined only by a stool, run through scenarios now emblazoned on the minds of countless “Fleabag” fans.
The 65-minute monologue made its fateful debut at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, after which it was adapted for BBC 3 in 2016. The resulting series garnered major awards, rocketing Waller-Bridge into pop status.
Those familiar with the show’s first season will recognize much of what is seen in the stage version, with tensions heightened and refracted when spun solely through Waller-Bridge as a one-woman conduit.