Dealing with Brexit: Open Conversations – free sessions

Our regular informal sessions are designed to provide an informal space to encourage information sharing between peers around touring post-Brexit. They are an opportunity to ask questions and to hear from professionals of the outdoor arts sector who’ve already had real-life experience of touring in a post-Brexit world and who can share learnings from their experience of navigating the new rules, helping to demystify Brexit.

This series of events happen regularly, make sure to sign up to our mailing to find out when registrations open.

You can find previous session recordings and notes here.

XTRAX have been working to provide resources and information to UK outdoor artists and professionals on how to continue to work internationally post-Brexit, including a comprehensive guide, survey, list of resources and webinar for artists and outdoor arts professionals. See the ‘Downloads and Links’ section on the right to find out more.

We’re delighted to add our Dealing with Brexit: Open Conversations sessions to this list of resources.

Previous guest contributors for sessions include:

Terry James, General Manager at Rock-it Global, a freight forwarding and logistics company.

  • Terry has been working in the global touring music and theatre industry for the last 26 years, advising and consulting for some of the larger Orchestras and Touring bands in the UK. Since pre Brexit days he has been involved in panels discussing processes and requirements and presenting them to the industry representatives. Identifying the ‘cracks’ in the processes where the touring industry has not been thought of, Terry and his team have been helping to find workable processes to navigate the ‘new’ touring situation we find ourselves in. They have also been looking to inform and educate those involved in touring border crossings to stay on top of the latest requirements and changes to legislation.

Jens Frimann Hansen, PASSAGE Festival and SO Festival

  • Jens Frimann Hansen is the Artistic Director of PASSAGE Festival (Elsinore, Denmark) and SO Festival (UK). Since 2004, Jens has been working with international curating and programming. In 2009 PASSAGE Festival and SO Festival started a strategic cooperation which in 2018 led to Jens  becoming Artistic Director of both festivals. After Brexit he has been working intensively on developing new green and including artistic formats for touring and exchange between UK and the EU. He is also very engaged in the democratisation of the artistic process and delegating artistic authority to people not engaged in the arts.


  • Toby Smith is the Associate Director at FESTIVAL.ORG (Greenwich+Docklands Festival and Global Streets). Toby works across FESTIVAL.ORG’s year-round activity, including the direction of the Global Streets programme, a national touring project that is developing new audiences for international outdoor arts in 12 English town and cities. In recent seasons, he has produced 15 tours of work by artists based in the EU and beyond, developing an understanding of post-Brexit arrangements for incoming artists, and in the wider contexts of both the pandemic and environmental impacts. Previously, Toby was Festival Director at the Salisbury International Arts Festival and Director of Performance and Programming for the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM); and he is currently a trustee of Motionhouse.

Ivan Thorley, Puppets with Guts

  • Ivan Thorley is the Artistic Director and Producer for Puppets with Guts. Ivan shared his experience of taking The Lips to La Mercè street arts festival (MAC) in Barcelona, Spain, in September 2022.

Louise Richards, Motionhouse

  • Louise Richards is the founder and executive director of Motionhouse. Under Louise’s direction, Motionhouse’s repertoire has expanded to include outdoor work and has produced many acclaimed large-scale productions that have made them a well-respected player in the UK arts sector.  Originally a dancer and choreographer, she remains closely involved with the performing company and creative process. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Louise talked about her extensive experience touring around Europe and beyond, and how Brexit has impacted the processes and planning of international touring.

Silvia Fratelli, Mimbre

  • Silvia Fratelli is one of the founders and joint artistic director of Mimbre. The company was established in 2000 and has produced and toured acrobatic performances since then. As well as a performer and creator, Silvia has acted as the manager for the company’s international bookings and tours logistics and has established strong links with some of the main European Street Theatre Festivals and organizers. She leads their research into optimal training. Silvia was on the steering committee for One Dance UK’s first Hip-Hop and Circus Conference and curated the first UK Acrobatic Symposium in collaboration with The National Centre for Circus Arts, London. She also works as an acrobatic and acro-balance teacher, choreographer and consultant. She speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French. In the April 2022 session, Silvia talked about her experience of performing with Mimbre at a showcase festival in Belgium, travelling via Eurostar with minimal props and equipment.

Nikki Kennett and Tim Kennett, The Show Globe

  • Nikki (performer) and Tim Kennett (technician) are the creators of unique roaming act The Show Globe. When touring U.K and EU festivals, the structure is transported whole inside a custom-made trailer towed behind a van. It has also been performed in Japan, China, Russia, Kuwait and the UAE, where it has been dismantled into 10 standard suitcases and flown as hold luggage. They are happy to share their experiences of ATA Carnet creation and border crossing. Before The Show Globe, Nikki had been performing for 20 years as an acrobat before eventually breaking whilst on tour with her street theatre company Strictly Dumb Prancing in Australia. Tim has worked as a pyrotechnic for various companies as well as stage crew and technician for the large outdoor pyro circus show BrightFX, which is where they first met. In the April 2022 session, Nikki and Tim talked about their experience of performing with The Show Globe at a showcase festival in Belgium, travelling in a van with a considerable amount of equipment, and offered advice on the ATA carnet process.

Hanna Madalska-GayerHead of Policy and Communications at the Association of British Orchestras (ABO)

  • In the first Dealing with Brexit session of 2022, we were joined by Hanna to look at the specificities of touring to Spain and what the recent lifting of visa restrictions by the Spanish government means for UK artists. Hanna is a public affairs professional with over two decades of experience working in political advocacy and strategic communications. She joined the ABO as Head of Policy and Communications in September 2021 with a background in the performing arts, working in advocacy and communications for the dance sector for the last 6 years where she collaborated with cultural organisations across the four nations in tackling issues facing the sector from Brexit and Covid-19 to cultural education and diversity.

Marie Faucher – Festival Administrator at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

  • In 2021, GDIF invited 9 European companies to perform at the festival. Marie Faucher led on the artist liaison and sorting out the administrative challenges, and will be offering reflections and insights from her experience in this session.

Jamie Ogilvie – Technical Director, Wired Aerial Theatre

  • Wired has recently spent 3 months in Austria working on an Opera called Rigoletto at the Bregenz Festival. As Technical Director it was my responsibility to work alongside the management team of the Festival to ensure all 25 members of the team arrived safely and all relevant paper work had been completed.

Bill Gee, Creative Director, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival & co-Artistic Director Inside Out Dorset

  • Creative director of IF Milton Keynes International Festival, co-artistic director of the Inside Out Dorset festival produced by Activate Performing Arts. Artistic Associate of the Bloomsbury Festival and lead on the Seedbed R&D programme at 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Centre.

Katie James, Arts Infopoint UK

    • Katie is the contact point for Arts Infopoint UK. The initiative is a partnership of the 4 Arts Councils across the UK. Their aim is to help artists who are wanting to come and work in the UK, to navigate and understand the practical information and rules that apply to their travel and work.

This work is supported by Platform 4:UK, XTRAX’s Arts Council of England funded project for international collaboration in outdoor arts.

Featured image: SIRF and XTRAX Showcase 2019 (c) Gilbert Johnson