Theatre Benevolent Fund

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(Often referred to by its acronym: TBF)

The Theatre Benevolent Fund [1] (Afrikaans: Teaterbystandsfonds or Teater Bystandsfonds) (TBF) is a South African welfare and humanitarian fund that helps maintain the dignity of professional performers after they have taken their last bow and the curtain has fallen on their working lives. The Fund supports individuals who have been connected to the performing arts on a professional basis, and who now find themselves in financial difficulties due to old age or ill health, by providing care to them in the form of monthly financial grants; donations for funeral expenses; assistance with medical expenses; placement in care centres or old age homes.


Founded in 1962 by the South African Film and Theatre Union (SAFTU) as the South African Actor's Benevolent Fund, utilizing the balance of the proceeds gathered during a benefit performance of a dinner-cum-cabaret organised by Robert Lang for David Beattie, who was dying of cancer. Later simply called the Actors' Benevolent Fund till it was formally registered as a welfare Organisation in December 1964 under the name the Theatre Benevolent Fund (TBF).


The constitution of the TBF states that the aim of the fund from the outset was "to afford financial relief and otherwise assist members and their dependents (and ex-members and their dependents precluded from subscription payments) of the entertainment profession and industry who find themselves in distressed circumstances by reason of ill health, unemployment, or any other genuine misfortune." Numerous theatre practitioners have been helped over the years, and - as an extension of their work - the fund also initiated the Theatre Residential Clubs in South Africa.


Hauptfleisch, 1984: The Breytie Book[2]

Artslink newsletter[3]

For more information

Theatre Benevolent Fund website at

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