Hard Deal Brexit Impact

Last week the Theatre Bristol team received this email from our Creative Director, Tessa Wills, sharing their notes from a Magrath Sheldrick event about Brexit. We’d like to share it now with you, unedited, except for the addition of some pictures…


Just wanted to send some notes from the day that i went to about how artists might manage if theres a hard brexit at the end of October.

The main issues are on the free movement of people which will be restricted dramatically. The hard exit will essentially be the start of a long negotiation process which will be different for each of the 27 countries about how it will work with each one, but in the meantime for the purposes of this presentation, the lawyers talking advised us to imagine that we were american citizens arriving in Europe.

In some of the countries, you don’t need a work visa if you’re working for less then 90 days. For example in France, you don’t need a work permit if you are there for less then 90days. Germany is roughly similar, and sort of similar for the netherlands.

They strongly recommend having health insurance for anyone travelling, to avoid the health insurance problems.

If you spend more time then that, you have to get a visa. The job and the role will become super important in that process. Other key things will become:

  • The length of the stay in the country of destination.
  • The length of stay in the Schengen area.
  • There will likely be a category for one off productions which will be distinct from a touring production (i.e. touring around the EU).
  • The hardest thing will be tax and national security and health insurance for each country.

It will all take between 1 and around 6 weeks per individual country to do. Although thats based on current rates, and theres no provision in countries like spain and portugal for a huge increase in UK applications. So it might suddenly take longer.

Its possible for organisations to sponsor artists to come to the UK. Its a bit expensive, but more then that its extremely admin heavy. Its possible that TB could offer this for independent artists, or at least that we could know someone who we could funnel people to who could do this work. Essentially the post needs to be advertised for 28 days within the UK to show that no-one else within the UK could do it, and then if no-one takes it and you have all your paperwork in order, you can bring someone in. It costs about 200 per person once you’ve set up the process which is about 1k.

The other main things that brexit will affect are:

  1. the movement of goods, particularly set pieces if they’re large.
  2. copyright and IP. (this is kind of an issue but basically because of GDPR its already probably been sorted by all of the organisations of our size. Probably we don’t need to worry about this particularly).

They gave us a very posh lunch. Which might be the only way any artist is benefiting from the process.

The Lawyers making the presentation about immigration were magrath and sheldrick. The IP lawyer guy was Rods withy king.

there were 12 people in the room and everyone had sad faces on. 4 of those 12 were making the presentation. Hope you made it through this email!


Tessa Wills
Creative Director