On Thursday evening, the British Ambassador to Luxembourg, John Marshall, and the Grand Théâtre co-hosted a reception for the English National Ballet following the opening night of the performance of "Giselle".
Members of the English National Ballet were joined by invited guests at this reception, during which the British Ambassador gave a speech. Ambassador John Marshall began by thanking and congratulating the English National Ballet on "a truly exceptional performance", particularly the choreographer Akram Khan and the conductor Gavin Sutherland, but also the dancers and everyone else who contributed to the production.
The Ambassador also thanked the Ville de Luxembourg and the Grand Théâtre both for bringing the "Giselle" performances to Luxembourg and for the inclusion of "some of the very best British and British-based talent" in the theatre programme each year. Speaking more broadly of Luxembourg's British-inspired cultural offer, he highlighted his own experiences seeing the London Symphony Orchestra at the Philharmonie, the Michael Clark dance company at the Grand Théâtre and the artists Tony Cragg and Darren Almond at MUDAM. He similarly drew special attention to the annual British & Irish Film Season, which showcases UK talent in independent films.
Addressing the potential impact of Brexit on Luxembourg-UK links in the creative arts and cultural sectors, Ambassador John Marshall stressed that, despite uncertainty over the identity and plans of the next British Prime Minister, the UK Government "recognises that the creative and cultural networks between UK and EU artists, museums and cultural organisations are closer and more complex than ever before and that we understand the value in these international exchanges and partnerships".
More specifically, the British Ambassador confirmed that both the UK and the EU will desire continued "cooperation and collaboration in the arts sector and wider creative industries" post-Brexit, just as they will work towards ensuring that British and EU citizens "continue to benefit from opportunities for cultural and educational exchange". In this regard, he highlighted the Political Declaration, agreed between the UK and the EU in November 2018 on the establishment of the terms and conditions for British participation in EU programmes, including cultural programmes. He clarified: "Our aim is very much to pursue a far-reaching relationship on culture and education with the EU, which is mutually beneficial for the UK and the EU27".
The British Ambassador went on to confirm the UK Government's recognition of the importance of mobility to these sectors, notably with regards to attracting talent and travelling for tours or performances. He stated: "We are keen to ensure that we agree a reciprocal mobility arrangement that will enable cross-border cultural and youth exchange to continue. And we are confident the EU wants to ensure this too". Ambassador John Marshall added that the UK Government similarly recognises the importance of the temporary mobility of goods in the arts sector, for instance instruments or art works on loan.
The British Ambassador concluded on a positive note, expressing optimism "that the opportunity will always be there to see fantastic art, dance, film, theatre and music from the UK in Luxembourg".