Ian McKellen and other british artists fear a post-Brexit disaster

Restrictions for touring performers in the EU have become a serious issue. They claim the UK's powerhouse cultural status hang on a wire

By Miguel Robles

EU Brexit Performers

EU Brexit Performers - Andrew Medichini (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved., AP)

It seems that a lot of ramifications concerning Brexit are starting to surface now; this was notorious after several everal british actors, including Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Julie Walters have warned the british government of the irreversible disaster the cultural institutions and organizations within the UK will face, unless all artists can tour within the EU without visas.

Since Britain made a final split from the EU, at the end of 2020, all U.K. citizens no longer can live or work in the bloc as they used to. If needed or wanted, all british artists have to comply with several rules in the 27 EU nations; they have to apply for visas and permits, both for themselves as well as for their crew members. They also claim that all these restrictions turn out to be very expensive and excessive, thus making it almost impossible for artists to perform on the continent, endangering the country's status as a cultural powerhouse.

In a letter from the actors' union Equity, more than 100 british performance stated that all the migratory regulations post Brexit would mean that “we have to pay hundreds of pounds, fill form after form and spend weeks waiting for an approval, just so we can do our jobs”. The same letter turned out to be a petition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in order to negotiate new terms with the EU.


Not acting now will do further and irreparable harm to the UK's creative workforce, our industries and to our standing on the international cultural stage”, said the letter which follows the same appeal as the one sent last month from more than 100 british musicians, including Sting and Ed Sheeran. According to a musician's representative, the creative sector (which generates 111 billion pounds a year) would be irreparable damaged if these problems weren't sorted out within the upcoming months.

In that sense, Deborah Annetts, chief executive of Incorporated Society of Musicians, told lawmakers that their sector is facing an extraordinary crisis. “We are going to lose this incredible part of our economy”, she said. Unless the government was able to arrange a visa-waiver agreement. She asserted this to the Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Britain and the EU blame each other for rejecting terms on artists' travel as part of the Brexit deal. According to the british government, this separation cannot be re-negotiated; however, they will pursue new bilateral arrangements for touring performers with individual UE members.

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