The UK Government has not struck a deal with the EU for performing artists to continue to tour without visas, work permits and customs documents for each individual country. This is a hammerblow for all those artists and support staff who depend on touring for their livelihoods, for one of the leading sectors of our economy, and for UK culture on the world stage. It will add considerable extra costs and bureaucracy, making some tours unviable and hitting hardest the young and developing artists who can least afford it. A solution can and should be found. Over a quarter of a million people have now signed a petition calling on the Government to re-engage, and to seek visa-free work permits for touring professionals and artists. Will you sign to keep up the pressure?
Having no arrangements in place will also make it harder and more expensive for artists based in the EU to perform in the UK, threatening the number and range of performers we can see, and harming the venues and festivals that host them. Proposals were tabled during the Brexit negotiations to avoid this damage, but nothing was agreed. The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that the “outcome is regrettable but it doesn’t have to be final”, so it’s vital we keep the pressure up now.
As members of the public who value the arts, we urge the Government to find a solution with the EU so that our artists and arts industries – already devastated by the pandemic – can continue to perform at home and abroad.