EU Referendum

EU Referendum: Welsh arts figures back Remain campaign

Signatories include Michael Sheen, Amy Wadge, Catrin Finch, Richard Harrington, Philip Pullman and Owen Sheers Image copyright BBC/PA/Getty Images
Image caption Signatories include Michael Sheen, Amy Wadge, Catrin Finch, Richard Harrington, Philip Pullman and Owen Sheers

More than 100 Welsh artists, musicians and performers have backed the campaign to remain in the European Union.

Actors Michael Sheen and Richard Harrington, harpist Catrin Finch and the writer Owen Sheers are among the signatories of a letter.

It called on voters to choose to stay in the EU, saying: "Better to fix than to break, to create than to destroy."

But Vote Leave said the arts and creative industries had "nothing to fear" from Brexit.

Others signing the letter backing the remain campaign include National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn and his predecessor Gillian Clarke, opera singers Rebecca Evans and Dennis O'Neill, David Anderson, director general of National Museum Wales, West End singer Connie Fisher and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Amy Wadge.

Artistic directors Kully Thiarai of National Theatre Wales and Arwel Gruffydd of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru have also added their names.

The EU's Creative Europe Fund has invested in productions including Hinterland/Y Gwyll, while Cardiff is considering a bid to be the EU-funded European Capital of Culture in 2023.

The letter said EU investment had helped the film and TV industry, arts centres and "enabled our literature to reach new markets".

Image copyright Gruff Rhys
Image caption Super Furry Animals lead singer Gruff Rhys released a song and video last month

Author Philip Pullman, who grew up in Llanbedr, Gwynedd, said: "Of course the EU is imperfect - nothing much bigger than a haiku can avoid some sort of imperfection.

"So let's work hard to improve it, in whatever part of this great continent we live, in whichever language we speak, with all the historical understanding we can muster, and with all the literary, artistic, scientific, musical, sporting, technological heritage we can bring to the task."

A spokesman for Vote Leave Cymru, Vincent Bailey, said: "The bottom line is that creative industries and arts would have nothing to fear from leaving the EU and this debate should not be allowed to descend into counterfactual claims.

"The UK is a great cultural power and would remain so outside the EU. British theatre, music, film, television and museums are world leaders, and far from supporting this industry, the EU restricts our ability to support this wonderful inheritance of ours.

"With the new possibilities that would come from reducing the burden of harmful regulation, leaving is not a scary prospect at all, but a wholly enticing one.

"Britain has a successful arts and cultural scene and freed from the shackles of EU law and efforts to subsume it into a European brand, it can only thrive."

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