by Hannah Gagen, Advocacy Manager, UK Theatre and SOLT.
Since this is a blog about Brexit it will probably be out of date by the time I’ve finished writing it…
I’ve started to take the bus to work. I normally cycle, but the days are getting colder, and I also need time to listen to my new ‘favourite’ podcast Brexitcast. Reading about Exiting the EU alone doesn’t seem enough anymore.
We’re probably all at least a little overwhelmed by Brexit and so in my personal life, I’m intrigued to listen in on pub chat; talk to my partner or friends about what it could mean on an individual, political, social and economic level.
It’s part of my job to try to keep on top of what it means to our sector, so, as we prepare to leave the EU UK Theatre has been working to ensure that the voice of theatre and the performing arts voice is heard, and we have begun to think about how members could be preparing.
We are doing this through policy discussions with government and other stakeholders; responding to requests for information from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), sharing information with the main parties; backbenchers in the Commons and the Lords and by attending roundtables and meetings.
In late 2017 we began our own research on Brexit’s potential impact on our sector. We have conducted two surveys so far and plan to continue to do so every 6 months for around five years. The next survey is now live for all UK Theatre and SOLT members to complete.
The data gathered so far has provided some essential benchmarks, indications and patterns. It will help us to monitor impact between now, March 2019, and beyond.
Some of the main themes coming out of the research are around:
- Mobility - movement (of people and also equipment when touring)
- Exchange rates
- Collaborations and partnerships
- Funding / finances
- Some have started to contingency plan and think about how much extra touring might cost
As well as the survey, a detailed list of the work UK Theatre & SOLT have done to date can be seen in each month’s Advocacy Briefings. Some highlights include:
- Bringing members in to meet with the The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) whose final report has been talked about widely, and for our sector the conversation appears to be dominated largely by the issue of salary thresholds and skill level. Our Legal Team also did an article on this.
- We were invited to meet with the DCMS Cultural Negotiating Hub team to discuss the Cultural Accord;
- Attended meetings with government on: Trade; Imports & Exports & Soft Power to highlight the ongoing importance of the EU as partners as well as highlighting emerging markets of interest for British theatre.
As we continue to prepare to leave the EU, government wants as much information as possible, so we will continue to ask you for any information you have or case studies you think will be useful. Please send anything to me.
Thank you to all our members who take the time to respond to requests for information, and for completing this new survey.
I am happy to sit in a bit of traffic, as it feels this slowness is most welcome at a time when everything else, particularly changes in Brexit policy, seem to be moving so fast.