Class and Coronavirus is a project designed in immediate response to COVID 19 to ensure on and off-stage  workers from lower socio-economic backgrounds, more specifically on and offstage workers who identify as working, benefit, criminal, underclass backgrounds (WBCU-C) remain in the industry, develop skills, and progress to leadership.

Initially set up by directors Stef O’Driscoll and Caitriona Shoobridge as a safe space for WBCU-C artists to check in during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Class and Coronavirus has grown into an organisation driven by advocacy and agitation to ensure the importance of class diversity remains part of our national narrative as we continue to navigate through the many challenging months ahead.

The pandemic has hit working, benefit, criminal, and underclass freelancers the hardest. We have already lost vast numbers of these brilliant people from our industry. In our case we will be first out, last back. In recognition of this, we have developed four strands to our program with the unified aim of supporting artists and off-stage workers to continue to engage with their craft while the industry finds its feet, and ultimately to support their return to work in theatre.

Our strands:

  • Skills Development Fund – We pay artists double the LLW per hour to attend skills development workshops delivered by partner organisations.
  • Digital Poverty Scheme – We want to remove barriers to online working by offering data bundles, grants and resources to WBCU-C on and off stage workers.
  • Town Hall Meetings – We continue to facilitate an online space for WBCU-C on and off stage workers to connect and to amplify our voices across disciplines.
  • Advocacy and Agitation – To widen access and deepen the industries understanding of class inequality ensuring socio-economic diversity remains part of the national theatre narrative.

The term lower socioeconomic background and WBCU-C is inclusive of a broad range of identities who are diverse in ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability. When we’re talking about class, we’re talking about everyone. If the industry actively address this spine of inequality, we can address structural discrimination more widely.

Class and Coronavirus is supported by New Diorama Theatre, RTYDS and Young Vic Directors Program.


Head to the Class and Coronavirus website for more information.

Follow @classandcorona@stefodriscoll / @catshoob