A statement from Neil Mackenzie, Artistic Director of FLARE15

A statement from the Artistic Director regarding the Home Office’s failure to overturn the refusal of visit visas for the New Collective from Georgia.

 

We’re bitterly disappointed that the refusal of the visit visas for the Georgian group has not been overturned. These are talented performers and theatre makers who would have made a most distinctive contribution to FLARE15, as well as benefiting from being a part of the international community of artists that Flare is bringing together.

The fact is that we have been denied the chance to host some great new artists from a country outside the EU, simply because they were unable to prove they have secure financial backgrounds. The removal of the right of appeal for visit visas in 2012 has been interpreted by this Conservative government as removing any chance of considering other ways of assessing what is fair and right in a situation like this.

The amount of support the group attracted, from the government of Georgia and a host of arts organisations in Tblisi to the Arts Council of England and the over 1600 signatories of the petition, proved as much as any financial background information that these are not people set on becoming illegal immigrants.

We are immensely grateful for the wide support that this case attracted, and understand it led to a third review of the facts of the case by the Home Office, which is apparently without precedent.

We are also very pleased that Mareike Wenzel, the group’s Berlin based director will still be joining the 22 other theatre groups and solo artists coming to Flare, and are currently in discussion with her to present a video (possibly Skype) installation based on the piece and the attempt to get it here.