#WeMakeEvents briefing: Post-Brexit EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement impact on touring productions. A summary

28 September, 2021

One of our members Di Fraser attended a Brexit seminar at PLASA /ABTT Show and here is her brief report:

Plasa/ABTT  Trade Fair at Olympia Monday 6th September

The opening point made was what we are all already aware of: before Brexit international touring onto the continent was pretty simple. Now it is not!

New systems are having a huge effect on european touring as for an example, in the past 80% of the transportation for Rock and Roll is UK based, since Europe has used personnel and equipment coming from the UK.  This will no longer be the case.

Arrangements made after discussions with Lord Frost regarding the Trade and Corporate Agreement make no mention at all of the entertainment industry.  Commercial trucks are allowed to make three  consecutive trips into or through the EU and there are visa free visits permitting 90 days stay in any 180 days.

This leaves performers such as opera singers, who may be working in any or several  of the 50 European opera houses over a much longer period of time, probably having  to arrange  for long stay visas. There is a real lack of understanding of how the sector operates and the dots need to be joined up between the people themselves, the supply chain  and the different types of work.

Travel into the Schengen area for tourism or business is still simple, but there are different rules for  entry and working in the other EU country,

It appears that there is a distinction between the visa required by a performer  and by  the support staff.

The lead up time for getting a visa can be time consuming. For instance for it can take up to 15 days, but for a long stay visa for Germany up to 8 weeks. So there must be plenty of long term planning.

£84billion is generated  in the UK from this industry, but what will happen is that EU countries will start to use  European crews as it will be simpler to start off a tour within the EU and then  just to visit the UK.

The difference between the short term movement of people and long term immigration needs to be recognised.

The identifying marks on technical equipment will have to be changed to incorporate a UK/CE mark.

A note of comfort: there are 27 member states, but for 19 of them the situation is relatively simple and you can just go there and work, with visas not in general being checked. There is also excellent guidance on national websites.  However there is a distinction between  a permit granting you permission to enter a country and then what  you might have to arranging once you are there.

The old style group visa like one used to have for a theatre company going to Europe on tour do not exist anymore.

We were encouraged to badger our own and EU politicians and fill their email in-boxes as only that will ultimately affect the rules. Things may become more clear post-covid.

Download the fact sheet:        


N.B. right now there are no trucks available for next  summer 2022!!

SMA adds
Various parts of our industry are reporting a shortage of trucks and drivers available to theatre this year- most likely in line with the reported shortages of drivers and resources in UK retail and supply chains generally.
One large theatre and music transport company’s trucks have been seen delivering to retail srores, and it appears that as so many shows were mothballed and stored during the pandemic, this has created a shortage of trailers as they are all parked up holding stored sets.