Barbican chief enters Brexit debate

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Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre, has waded into the Europe debate claiming that leaving Europe could damage London as a global cultural centre.

“Free movement of labour makes collaboration between artists and organisations far easier to realise by allowing artists and production teams to tour between countries without being subject to the bureaucracy of individual nations’ visa systems” Kenyon writes in today’s Evening Standard. He said the arts alone raise more than £4bn a year for the UK economy, and we needed to remain “an active and engaged member of the EU, ensuring audiences have access to the finest art Europe has to offer.”

He pointed to last year’s successful production of the Greek classic Antigone, with the French actress Juliette Binoche, Belgian director Ivo van Hove in association with a Dutch theatre company and co-produced by the Barbican with theatres and festivals in Paris, Luxembourg, Edinburgh and Recklinghausen. “This co-commissioning model with venues across Europe gives British audiences opportunities to experience first-hand the work of some of the finest artists in the world, while also gaining new insights into classic texts” he says. 

He adds that the UK “is seen as a home for innovation that is open and embracing of our European neighbours”. 



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