Keeping the torch of international cultural co-operation burning 

07 Dec 2021

Jonathan Goodacre considers how we can preserve the global ideas exchange that the arts and culture community benefits from so richly.

Orchestras fear updated touring provisions unworkable

a woman plays in an orchestra
10 May 2022

Dual registration for hauliers will offer visa-free touring for some, but problems persist for smaller-scale tours and orchestras with specialist equipment.

Trucking stopgap to save UK tour legs

20 Apr 2022

The temporary allowance will ease post-Brexit restrictions on touring, DfT says, but a better long-term solution remains elusive.

Opportunities for emerging artists in market slump

12 Apr 2022

Brexit has edged the UK's art trade out of the global top tier. It could mean more exposure for artists domestically.

Brexit scuppers British Phantom run

07 Apr 2022

A decision to replace a British production of Phantom of the Opera with a Chinese one "speaks volumes about the impact of the Government’s approach to supporting touring creatives".

The statement from DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight comes after Jessica Koravos, President of the Really Useful Group, told MPs it was "more straightforward and less expensive" to tour the Chinese show in the EU.

Knight said this exemplifies the damage done to arts touring by Brexit.

"The mask has well and truly slipped on the true extent of the problems faced by the UK arts sector.

"The current EU visa arrangements are proving economically disastrous for our cultural industries by forcing them to play second fiddle to their international competitors, while having a hugely detrimental effect on the ability of the UK to exercise soft power by promoting Britain abroad post-Brexit.”

UK tours in EU ‘too expensive’

31 Mar 2022

Theatre company Really Useful Group has brought in a production of The Phantom of the Opera from China to tour the EU, because Brexit red tape made it “too expensive” to use a British one, a DCMS Committee has heard.

Really Useful Group promotes Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows around the world. Its president, Jessica Koravos, told the committee she “would not dream of sending a UK production into Europe” under current circumstances.

She said it was “more straightforward and less expensive” to bring in a production from China 5,000 miles away.

The comment formed part of a DCMS Committee session on promoting Britain abroad, held earlier this week.

DCMS Chair Julian Knight said the situation “means that the mask has well and truly slipped on the true extent of the problems faced by the UK arts sector”.

“That one of the all-time great British musical impresarios would not now dream of taking a production rich in West End heritage into the EU from Britain speaks volumes about the impact of the government’s approach to supporting touring creatives.

“The current EU visa arrangements are proving economically disastrous for our cultural industries by forcing them to play second fiddle to their international competitors.”

UNBOXED 2022 working on 'a recipe for failure'

17 Mar 2022

A scathing report from MPs says the festival is "an irresponsible use of public money" set to prove its sceptics right. How fair is the criticism?

Orchestras on the rebound

ABO conference
09 Mar 2022

Covid and Brexit combined have meant a tough two years for UK orchestras but, as Mark Pemberton explains, signs of a bounce back are promising.

Touring exhibitions need local focus

21 Feb 2022

Amid Covid, Brexit and climate change, new touring models that prioritise collaboration with communities and other institutions provide a way forward, funders say.

Employment in culture outstrips pre-pandemic levels

14 Feb 2022

Employment in the cultural industries has continued to grow despite the pandemic, official figures suggest

New data from DCMS covering the period October 2020 to September 2021 records an estimated 696,000 people working in culture - 8,000 people more than the same period across 2019 and 2020, and 20,000 more than before the pandemic.

The figures appear to illustrate the success of furlough and the failure of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in supporting the sector: what was a 50-50 split in employed and self-employed cultural workers is now 54% in favour of the employed.

There are also about 10,000 more culture professionals in working in London than in 2019/20.

Despite the advent of Brexit at the end of 2020, there are still as many EU nationals working in the sector.

Cabotage limits cost orchestras thousands

an orchestra rehearses in an auditorium
08 Feb 2022

Industry experts say the Government must adapt its plans for overseas touring this summer amidst a shortage of haulage trucks.

Keir Starmer: Government is 'attacking' British creativity

03 Feb 2022

Labour Leader promises action on EU touring if elected and says the creative industries deserve more "respect".

Quarter of live music events cancelled

24 Jan 2022

More than a quarter (26%) of live music shows scheduled for the first three months of 2022 have been cancelled.

New research from industry lobby group LIVE says a “perfect storm” of Covid and Brexit have damaged public confidence.

Fear of further restrictions was cited as one of the main reasons for cancellations.

Concerns remain over Brexit, with 90% believing it will negatively affect the industry once markets fully reopen.

44% of upcoming shows featuring international artists have been cancelled. 

LIVE CEO Greg Parmley welcomed restrictions on live music venues coming to an end, but said the industry still faces serious challenges.

“It will take a long time for us to recover from the worst period in history of the industry and the Government need to fully understand the challenges we face.”

Summer events face 'pronounced' skills shortage

24 Jan 2022

Two thirds say they need to delay or cancel work as skilled workers are slow to return to the industry.

UK misses out on €100m Creative Europe boost

18 Jan 2022

A bumper budget has been passed for 2022 - but the UK won't see hardly a penny.

What are the rules for performing artists coming to the UK?

photo of band playing a concert to an audience
07 Dec 2021

One year on, artists are still struggling with the legal complexities around performance in the UK. Gary McIndoe explains the details.

Covid smokescreen conceals true impact of Brexit

protest sign showing Boris Johnson in clown makeup
07 Dec 2021

Brexit has had a huge emotional impact and has affected the funding, mobility, and partnerships of UK cultural organisations. Charlotte Faucher has been investigating.

Cross-party MPs launch inquiry into EU touring barriers

03 Nov 2021

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Music will hold a cross-party inquiry into the barriers and delays facing musicians touring in the European Union.

The announcement follows a letter to Boris Johnson, signed by APPG on Music Chair David Warbuton, demanding "urgent action" to address ongoing barriers.

The letter highlights the "lack of clarity" musicians looking to tour the EU are facing in the wake of recent DCMS annoucements.

"We need the Government to ramp up negotiations with nations like Spain where costly visas are still in place and to look for swift solutions to both the visa and transport issues facing musicians and crew," Conservative MP Warbuton said.

The APPG on Music will kick off its inqury with a first evidence session later this month.

The inquiry will focus on visas and work permits, carnets and instrument manufacturing materials, transport issues, the effect on the UK music industry, the effect on emerging artists and potential solutions. 

"This is a hugely welcome move by MPs from across the political divide," UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said.

LEEDS 2023 announces two international collaborations

03 Nov 2021

Cultural festival LEEDS 2023 is bringing locally-based artists together with international collaborators in two new programmes as part of its year-long programme.

The World in Our City, the City in Our World will include work by musicians, DJs, theatre makers and writers from cities including Kuala Lumpur, Karachi and Durban.

A second programme, Tech for the Public Good, will create an online residency with participants from countries including Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Mexico and the UK.

Both programmes are supported by the British Council.

LEEDS 2023 Executive Producer Emma Beverley said: “This work will see us foster new connections across borders whilst also supporting and developing local talent.”

UK strikes visa-free touring deal with Romania

12 Oct 2021

Romania has been added to the list of EU countries that UK performers can tour in sans visa.

As has become customary, DCMS concealed the actual size of the achievement, updating an August announcement to say visa-free touring is possible in 20 EU countries.

In fact, arrangements were already in place with 19 of those countries two months ago. Talks with Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus are ongoing - and in some cases have been since the UK left the EU.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) said Tuesday's announcement gave "a misleading impression about the extent to which work in these countries will now be possible".

It called on Government to clarify what kinds of work are allowed for how long in each of the 20 countries.

DCMS says: "Discussions with these countries are ongoing, and we are also working with the sector to amplify each other’s lobbying efforts."


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