EU leave vote prompts mixed arts response

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Rufus Norris (l) and Samuel West have expressed concern over the referendum result

Entertainment figures and arts bodies have greeted Leave winning the EU referendum with a mixture of views.

Michael Ryan, chair of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), said the result, which saw Leave take 51.9% of the vote, was "a major blow".

The Art Fund charity was said to be "deeply concerned about what leaving... will mean for culture in the UK".

National Theatre boss Rufus Norris, meanwhile, said the venue remained "committed" to European collaboration.

"We remain resolutely committed to increasing our collaboration with friends and colleagues across the UK, in Europe and around the world," he said.

"After this morning's referendum and the divisions it has highlighted, it is also essential that the arts work even harder to give voice to all parts within our society.

"We must be fearless in using the arts as a crucible in which we come to understand who we are as individuals, as communities and as a nation."

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Damon Albarn said he had a 'very heavy heart' at the EU referendum result
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US singer Cher tweeted she was praying the decision was right for the UK

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents the UK's recorded music industry, said the result would surprise many in the industry "who will be concerned by the economic uncertainty that lies ahead".

But its chief executive, Geoff Taylor said he remained "confident that British music will remain hugely popular across Europe".

"We will, of course, press the government to swiftly negotiate trade deals that will ensure unimpeded access to EU markets for our music and our touring artists," he added.

"Our government will also now have the opportunity to legislate for stronger domestic copyright rules that encourage investment here in the UK, and which will protect UK creators from piracy."

Blur's Damon Albarn said at Glastonbury that the referendum result showed that "democracy has failed us".

'Very exciting'

JK Rowling, James Corden and choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne joined Albarn in making their feelings clear about the result of Thursday's poll.

Harry Potter creator Rowling predicted Scotland would "seek independence" and that the legacy of outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron would be the "breaking up [of] two unions".

Corden, who hosts The Late Late Show in the US, tweeted he "couldn't get [his] head around what's happening in Britain," while Sir Matthew used the social media platform to say he felt "embarrassed to be British".

Philip Pullman, president of the Society of Authors, said he could not see "any good coming out of" the decision.

However fellow author Susan Hill countered such sentiments by telling The Bookseller she was "pleased" by the result, saying it was both "very exciting" and "hugely challenging" and that the UK should "try accepting the challenge".

Singer Cher stayed neutral but tweeted that she was praying the referendum result was the "Best Decision 4 All UK PPL [people]".

Image source, Twitter/Sir Matthew Bourne

A statement released by the Creative Industries Federation, which represents the UK's arts, creative industries and cultural education, said it would be "vital for all sides to work together to ensure that the interests of our sector... are safeguarded".

Its chief executive, John Kampfner, said the arts sector would "play an important role... as the UK creates a new identity and a new position on the world stage".

He added it could also play a part "in helping to bridge divides" that had been highlighted during the referendum campaign".

The Association of British Orchestras cited the "challenges ahead".

It called for guarantees that would ensure musicians "continued freedom of movement across Europe's borders".


Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said the Leave vote meant there was now "great financial uncertainty" for the UK's museums and galleries.

A statement by actor and director Samuel West, chair of the National Campaign for the Arts, which independently campaigns for the arts, expressed concern the result could impact upon "our ability to access important European funding".

He added there were "a host of other issues" that needed to be addressed, among them "international artistic exchange, export of cultural products... and access to training in European centres of excellence".

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
How London's Evening Standard newspaper reported the referendum result

IFTA's Ryan concluded that the Leave decision was "likely to be devastating" for the UK creative sector.

He told the Hollywood Reporter the UK's vote to leave the European Union had "blown up [the] foundation" upon which the industry was based.

"As of today, we no longer know how our relationships with co-producers, financiers and distributors will work, whether new taxes will be dropped on our activities in the rest of Europe or how production financing is going to be raised, without any input from European funding agencies."

Amanda Nevill, chief executive officer of the British Film Institute, said the organisation could "completely understand and feel the concern that the industry has right now".

But she said the industry could "draw strength and confidence from knowing that we are one of the most creative nations on earth and we will undoubtedly continue to enjoy successful and vibrant partnerships in Europe and throughout the world".

A representative from France's National Film Board, meanwhile, told trade paper Variety the vote would have no impact on the country's co-production treaty with the UK, calling it "a bilateral agreement [not] officially related to the European Union".