More obstacles for British touring artists this year as discussions between the UK and the EU come to a halt. Copperdollar Studios stands with the musicians, theatre troupes, performers and crew who will be affected by this decision.
Talks between the UK and the EU have ended unfavourably for British touring artists. Under the new EU visa proposal (taking effect after the transition period), touring groups may have to purchase a visa for each country they pass through. The performing arts industries have suffered immensely already due to Covid-19. Many performing artists and their crews will be unable to front these costs.
On 14 January, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport gave their response after negotiations came to a halt: “We proposed measures to allow creative professionals to travel and perform in both the UK and EU, without needing work-permits. Unfortunately, the EU rejected these proposals.” They go on to say the EU turned down their proposals on the basis that touring artists were providing a service – which they viewed as necessitating a work permit and/or visa. This outcome is a huge blow for the creative industries, with touring generating the majority of many artists’ incomes.
In response to this outcome, Maureen Beattie, President of Equity, said: “I cannot understand why the government would not wish to support a sector which brings such great riches to the UK, both in terms of finance and reputation. Nor can I understand what appears to be their almost total lack of concern for the workers in that sector, whose lives have already been devastated by the pandemic.”
The combined revenue of these industries is worth more than £111 billion to the UK economy. Showcasing UK art across the EU will be determined by wealth and restrict access to so many artists without the reversal of this outcome.
What can you to do support?
This decision not only affects musicians but also theatre practitioners, comedians, circus or cabaret troupes, dance companies and their crews who make a living from touring their beautifully-crafted shows. Look out for local crowdfunding pages in Brighton & Hove that are helping artists, venues and music organisations get back on their feet. The arts have been blighted by social distancing regulations. Most theatre and music venues have been unable to accommodate safe performances even in moments when lockdown had been eased. If you’re able to, donate a few pounds to ensure a safe return for the arts in the near future around Brighton.
We have signposted petitions below that are still accepting signatures. On Monday 8 February the Petitions Committee will hold a virtual e-petition session to discuss arrangements for UK artists in the EU. You can join the meeting from 4.30pm. If you wish to offer more support and have the time, writing to your MP is a resourceful way of re-emphasising the issue. Equity offer advice on how to go about this if you are interested, including a template letter to guide you.
Are you in need of advice?
If you are an artist seeking guidance during this difficult time, there are many unions and organisations offering help. Equity, the UK Trade Union for professional performers and other creative workers, is a platform offering work-related legal advice. They are the torch-bearers for good working practices in the UK entertainment industry. Equity hosts regular online meetings for their members offering updates and advice.
Brighton & Hove City Council have joined forces with the Arts and Creative Industries Commission to design Culture in Our City in response to Covid and Brexit restrictions. Artists, makers, producers, and creative industry organisations working in the local cultural sector now have access to a new online space to support them through the Covid-19 crisis and beyond. You can find useful links to resources, creative opportunities and funding advice.
Our studios have been a creative space for so many different artists choreographing, rehearsing and preparing for tours over the years. We hope the government will fight for our arts industries to overturn this decision.