Theatre should be without borders, but while British companies get to perform around the world – and their work improves because of it – it’s a different story for foreign artists invited here

The Flare festival, which takes place in Manchester in mid-July, is a celebration of performance by emerging artists from all over the world. Although, maybe not from Georgia. The New Collective, based in Tbilisi, are due to perform with a durational piece, Welcome, selected by festival director Neil Mackenzie. The show takes the form of a week-long house-warming party, and is a look at contemporary migration, inspired by Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

The festival invited them and would pick up their costs. But the British authorities are so concerned that this young collective will want to migrate to the UK that their visa application has been refused. They are young, single, without dependents and have very little in their bank accounts, so cannot prove satisfactorily that they are “genuine” visitors to the UK and would leave following their performances. Clearly, those who issue these visas have not peeked at the bank accounts of young British artists and seen how very little they earn too.

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