Europe is indelibly built into the UK’s arts. The cross-cultural partnership creates jobs and opportunities, but should freedom of movement with the European Union end in January 2021, it will have a major impact on domestic festivals’ ability to plan and programme after this date.
“Companies based in Europe make up about 80% of our programme,” says Miguel Oyarzun, who is festival co-director of Birmingham’s BE Festival with Isla Aguilar. “We programme companies with an average of three to four members. If the government’s plan to limit the number of visas each organisation can apply for goes ahead, it will have a significant impact on the amount and size of companies we can programme.”
There’s also the additional cost implication, as well as finding the resources to process the red tape. “Wanting to programme the work we feel is relevant, rather than merely the work we can actually programme, will force us to rework the whole timeline of the festival,” adds Oyarzun.
“The cost of visa applications can be enormous – and then you might not get them,” says Joe Mackintosh, chief executive for SeaChange Arts and artistic director of Great Yarmouth’s Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts. “And the situation for artists from non-EU countries is already challenging…
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