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MU joins Equity and Writers’ Guild in seeking clarity on the impact Brexit will have on musicians and performers

By | Published on Thursday 29 October 2020

Musicians' Union

As everyone in the live sector continues to deal with the huge challenges of COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that, come January, British musicians and performers could well face a load more challenges when pursuing performance projects elsewhere in Europe because of bloody Brexit.

In the same way there remain so many unknowns regarding COVID-19 and how long it will continue to impact on live entertainment, there remain plenty more unknowns regarding what new costs and bureaucracy Brexit might create for musicians and performers touring Europe, once such touring is possible again.

With that in mind, organisations representing musicians, actors and writers – the Musicians’ Union, Equity and the Writers’ Guild respectively – have called on UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to provide more clarity on what Brexit – deal or no deal – will mean for British performers and creators looking to work elsewhere in Europe.

And also regarding what those people should be doing now to prepare, and what the government is doing to mitigate disruption, whether or not the UK and EU agree and ratify a new trade deal before the end of the year.

The three organisations said in a statement: “Musicians, actors and writers face hardship caused by the pandemic, which has put a stop to live performance and new commissions. At the same time, uncertainty caused by Brexit means finding new work after the transition period ends in January looks more and more challenging as the final countdown begins. Many performers represented by the unions say they need opportunities to work in Europe more than ever”.

In a letter to Dowden, the three organisations ask the government to “clarify their position on ensuring creative work across Europe remains viable for British artists”, and to “set out its position on copyright and the position of the arts in future trade deals, amid fears that the impact of leaving the bloc on the creative industries is not top of the agenda”.

Commenting on the letter, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge said: “We lack any clear information on what the government is doing to ensure performers can take up work opportunities in Europe after January. Our members need to know they will be able to work and travel freely before they can plan their jobs. The government should make their position clearer”.