Visa issues could threaten Covent Garden performances

Posted on: March 6, 2009

In Thursday’s (3/5) Telegraph (London), Christopher Hope Whitehall writes, “Foreign actors, singers and dancers, along with other workers from outside the European Union, have been subject to a new points-based system which was introduced at the end of November to crack down on illegal immigration. Officials from the Royal Opera House told [Members of Parliament] that performances in Covent Garden might be cancelled because of problems getting border clearance for famous stars who are drafted in from overseas at short notice.” The biggest problems arise when the company has to find last minute replacements. “Ruth Jarratt, the company’s director of policy development, said: ‘You have got to find someone who knows the repertoire and has sufficient standing on the Covent Garden stage—and be free at the time.’ MPs on the Home Affairs select committee were told that obtaining new ‘biometric’ passports was too long to react in time—10 days, compared with just 24 hours under the old system.”
Posted March 6, 2009