Brexit could damage UK's world-class theatre industry say stage designers

Brexit: without free movement of international stage designers and students, the UK risks losing its status as a world leader in theatre, according to the Society of British Theatre Designers.

The SBTD – which represents theatre designers across the UK and abroad – has said that restricting the amount of creative talent allowed into the UK after Brexit will be disastrous for its industry.

In a statement sent to the government's Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), it called for "our strong ties with Europe" to be preserved in negotiations for the UK's exit from the European Union.

This will be essential, it claimed, in maintaining its contribution to the music, performing and visual arts sector, which adds £5.4 billion a year to the UK economy.

"In order for British theatre design to remain a world leader, we reject any restriction on the free movement of performance makers into the UK," it said.

The organisation produced the statement following a Dezeen callout for support with a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of Brexit – the deadline for which is today.

We asked companies and individuals to share their views on how Brexit will affect their businesses.

The SBTD said that non-British figures such as Ralph Koltai, Richard Hudson, Maria Björnson and Stefanos Lazaridis – who chose to stay in the UK after training here – prove how important foreign talent is to British set design.

"UK theatre and performance designers are internationally well respected and in demand," it said.

"This reputation is based on a historical openness to absorb and welcome performance practitioners from Europe and around the world, who have chosen to live and work in this country."

The organisation also stressed the importance of allowing British designers to work elsewhere in the EU, and to reassure non-British performance designers based in the UK that they are welcome to stay.

In addition, it called for the government to halt plans to restrict the number of foreign students in the UK.

"The brightest creative students from around Europe and the world are attracted by our reputation to study theatre and performance design in the UK and make up a significant proportion of many UK design courses," it said.

"Apart from the financial contribution they make to our economy, their presence opens the horizons and thinking of our own students."

Dezeen plans to make a submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, following the publication of our Brexit Design Manifesto last month.

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is Friday 28 October 2016. Therefore we urgently require views from the architecture and design sector by end of play on Monday 24 October.

Photograph of John Pawson's Chroma is by Richard Davies.