Red Tape - The government should appoint a touring ‘tsar’ to unravel the red tape facing British musicians in Europe, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has said. They would need to tackle the soaring costs of obtaining visas and transporting instruments that bands have encountered since Brexit. Some orchestras face bills of £5,000 every time they play abroad, said the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music. It added the industry faced a "crisis" that required "urgent" action.
The call came in a major report into the state of touring post-Brexit, that warned musicians and their crew were "facing more costs, more complications and getting fewer opportunities" since the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020. "It's over two years since Brexit, yet there is still a mountain of red tape," said Labour MP Kevin Brennan, who chairs the all-party group. "Ultimately, it's a self-inflicted wound that doesn't have to be there."
In response, a spokesperson said the government was "supporting the UK's brilliant musicians to adapt to the new arrangements and make touring easier".
Mandarin Musical - The Phantom of the Opera is to be performed in Mandarin for the first time when it opens in China in 2023. Since it premiered in 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical has been performed in 183 cities around the world in 17 languages. Presented by SMG Live, the Mandarin language production will be co-created by the Really Useful Group, which is the producer of The Phantom world tour, and Troika Entertainment.
SMG Live and the Really Useful Group began the process of transforming the production for Chinese audiences in 2018. Dates and venues are to be announced. As announced during the final episode of China’s musical theatre TV talent show City of Musicals, the roles of the entire cast including Phantom, Christine and Raoul will be open to Mandarin speakers around the world.
In The Vaults - A new 80-capacity creative and performance space is being launched by the team behind the Vault Festival. The Glitch, from Vault Creative Arts, will include a performance space with a capacity of 80 people, which will host theatre, comedy and spoken-word artists as well as quiz nights and open mic nights. It will host a programme of both free and ticketed events, and will also be available for hire along with rehearsal spaces. The new venue in Lower Marsh, Waterloo, will also include a cafe and bar. It aims to give a platform to early career artists as well as enable established creatives to try out new material and develop work.
In The Courts - Three men have been charged with plotting to sell the handwritten lyrics from the Eagles album Hotel California, knowing they had been stolen. The lyrics and notes from the band's hit 1976 LP had belonged to musician Don Henley and are valued at more than $1m. Prosecutors said the men had lied to auction houses, potential buyers and police about the material's origins. Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski deny the charges.
Inciardi is an "employee with curator responsibilities" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The New York District Attorney's office said the trio had engaged in a "years-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts". The lyrics to tracks likes Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane and New Kid In Town were originally stolen in the late 1970s by someone hired to write a biography of the group, according to the district attorney.
In The Round - Once famed for making watches and cables, the town of Prescot near Liverpool is staging a Shakespearean reinvention. The north of England now has a rival to London's Globe Theatre, celebrating Prescot's links to Shakespeare. A £38m replica of the Royal Cockpit theatre has opened its doors. The wooden auditorium recaptures the look and atmosphere of a venue that was originally sited where 10 Downing Street now stands.
Record Breaker - Queen have made UK chart history by becoming the first act to sell seven million copies of an individual album. Their first Greatest Hits collection, from 1981, is now owned by one in every four households in the UK, said the Official Charts Company. The record, which features classic singles like We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody, has been a perennial best-seller for years. It recently spent its 1,000th week on the UK album chart.
(Jim Evans)
19 July 2022

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