Joli Vyann Talk to Tim Brennan About Their Post Brexit Touring Concerns.
Joli Vyann has been creating and touring indoor and outdoor dance-circus performances since 2012, touring extensively throughout the UK and internationally. We integrate circus, dance and theatre in our own unique style where each genre has an equal role, blurring the boundaries of where dance ends and circus skills begin. Outreach work is an invaluable part of our work, teaching workshops for all ages and abilities, from professionals to community projects with refugees, integrative groups and recovering addicts. We work with many youth companies, training and inspiring young artistic minds and bodies.
Access to European touring is essential to our survival as a company with a busy touring schedule. We’re supporting the call for a cultural work permit and visa free travel for touring professionals and artists because it is vital to our success and development as a company.
Since 2012 our touring schedule has been growing ever more extensive and we have the joy of performing to larges audiences all over the world. But the majority of our summer touring is in the UK and Europe.
In 2019, 75% of our summer tour from May to October was in Europe. We have many European partners and collaborators and have previously had the pleasure of having European funding to support our projects. Our European shows are an integral part to the survival of our company, providing us with consistent and well-paid work; it also allows us the share with audiences who are excited to see our work, who arrive early at the performance space, applaud every move and show appreciation for the cultural experience they are receiving. Our European tours allow us to spread our work and our reputation, build international relationships and give us an insight into an array of talent that we would not have access to in the UK. We have built strong relationships with European festivals who ask us back with every new show that we create. We have had some of our largest and most appreciative audiences in Europe and worked with wonderful collaborators, performers, artists and production teams.
In 2020 we completely lost our tour due to Covid and now we have to recover not only from the disastrous effects of the pandemic, but also from the added impact of Brexit. The difficulty starts with each and every country having different rules regarding work visas. As a company with a small administrative team, the amount of research required to put together a European tour is now beyond our capacity. We just do not have the time or resources to be able to research and apply for visas for every European show and therefore we are being forced to turn down European offers. We would need to employ extra administration to be able to achieve this which financially, especially after the impacts of Covid on 2020 touring, is not currently possible.
We are also struggling with uncertainty about future European touring and the rules that may be imposed with regards to taking equipment in and out of Europe. We have a large new outdoor show in the making, with a sizeable structure and loads of equipment. We have had a lot of interest for this show from European festivals but do not know whether it will be possible to transport our structure without incurring huge costs.
Basically, we have had to stop our European touring for the foreseeable future. To be working with new borders and restrictions not only affects our living, our financial capacity to survive and our ability to expand, but it also affects our creativity, limiting us to a bubble rather than allowing us to share and expand. We have had audience members coming to us after a show crying from the impact. We have had them laughing and telling us how they were having an awful day and that we changed the course of their day. We have taught children all over Europe who may be struggling with academia but absolutely thrive at our physical challenges. With the current confusion, uncertainty and restrictions, a company of our size will not have the ability to share these things with our European friends and this is the real tragedy.
Our short-term plan is to tour the UK for this year and next year and if the restrictions make it too difficult for a company of our size to continue working in Europe, then we have to consider either creating a double base or completely relocating.
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