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How the cost of living in the UK is affecting artists



A group of actors rehearse on the stage
90% of actors in the UK are unemployed at any one time, according to a survey by Queen Mary University in London | Photo: Fabian Friedrich

The cost-of-living crisis has been stampeding towards us for the best part of a year and the continuing hike in energy bills and food and other basic living costs, is becoming the new – miserable – normal. It feels tougher now more than ever, perhaps because of the recent drastic drop in temperature which was, of course, inevitable but easy not to think about a few months back, as we entered a succession of heatwaves and the first ‘normal’ summer since the beginning of the pandemic.

This crisis is impacting us all, albeit some more than others, and so I’m sure even the most financially comfortable among us are cutting back where they can, but is it enough? Only, pausing that less than £4 monthly subscription to a newspaper, cancelling a streaming service (£9pcm) I use slightly less than another one and not buying coffee when I’m out of the house all day doesn’t seem to be making the dent I hoped it might, and I’m running out of memberships to cancel. So, what do I do? Surely, it’s a simple case of making more money. Great. How? When?

You see, I am a freelance jobbing actor and theatre maker (90% administration and fundraising, 10% making theatre), a playwright and a copywriter and blogger. I’m fortunate to have – at least since February of last year – made most of my income from these areas. Of course, other years this is not the case and so I have a collection of ‘day jobs’ to keep me afloat too. I work for several organisations as a facilitator and teacher, and as a nanny. In addition to these, the moment the first lockdown ended, I got a job in a local pub where I stayed until the beginning of this year because none of my theatre jobs booked in for 2020 had yet been rescheduled, and I also gained employment as a dog sitter and walker which saw me through the best part of 2021. I say this, not because I’m showing off about my ability to keep a dog off the sofa with a baby under one arm and pour a round of drinks with the other, but because it feels important to stress that I am not afraid to work. That isn’t the reason I’m now, almost a year since I went back to being 100% freelance, struggling to make ends meet. The reason is, despite still working the majority of the aforementioned jobs, some of which are very well paid, my living costs – like yours too, I’m sure – have increased exponentially. And it’s affecting my ability to invest in my career, a necessity for any freelancer, my ability to focus on my practice and do the work I want to be doing, the work I have spent thousands of pounds and hours training to do, and which I’m very good at doing. Work like writing pieces such as this!

Take the money I would usually spend on entertainment for instance. Aside from cancelling memberships to the already few streaming services I subscribe to, I’m currently seeing a lot less theatre than I normally would. There are shows I want to see but if I can’t find a good enough deal on tickets or if I’m offered an even ‘ok-paid’ gig, I’m forced to choose to do that instead whereas before, I had the luxury of choosing to turn the odd gig down, sometimes in favour of an even worse paid one, but one which would be more creatively fulfilling. Now, I’m

turning enjoyable day jobs down for slightly better paid but less enthralling ones – not quite the direction I saw my career heading in 10 years in. Thankfully, I do have a prepaid annual membership to a cinema which allows me to see an unlimited number of movies which I make good use of whenever I can. But even that feels finite; the cinema chain I’m a member of reported financial issues earlier this year so I am in no doubt it will need to raise its membership prices in the new year, maybe to an amount I can’t currently justify paying.

Now, you’d be forgiven for not reaching for your tiny violins just yet, but as much as I love watching theatre, TV and films. It’s also my job; it’s research, it’s keeping my fingers on the pulse and an eye on what’s happening in my industry so I’m not completely out of the loop when I’m invited to audition or pitch for projects. Entertainment is a necessary cost I’ve always budgeted for but over the last few months, even working non-stop, often multiple jobs at once, I’ve gotten to the end of a month, paid my bills and rent etc. and had little or nothing left to spend on a single theatre ticket.

But, say I get that meeting, or I book an audition for my dream job, the excitement only lasts a few minutes before I’m reminded to factor in my weekly travel costs which the prices of, even with a railcard I have for one more year, leaves a gross amount to be desired. It’s fine, or at least manageable if you can book jobs, meetings and errands back-to-back in a day but this leaves less time to prepare for each job or meeting; learning multiple pages of script, planning lessons or putting together comprehensive presentations or documents. And that’s not forgetting how time-consuming the admin behind trying to make all these things line up can be! There is of course one positive to paying for travel between commitments; if you’re out all day, your energy bills might dip a bit.

And breathe.


I’m afraid there just isn’t much positive to say about the current economic crisis and its effect on arts workers, especially just shy of a month after the announcement of further astronomical cuts being made across the UK theatre industry. I appreciate this is a tough read with not much let up but unfortunately, for now at least, it’s mine, and so many of my friends’ and colleagues’ reality. Friends and colleagues who are brilliant and talented and good at making relevant, urgent, and entertaining work but who are struggling to keep making it. And these are people who have at least some foundations in the industry; each day opportunities for the next generation of artists graduating into the current crisis are being slashed.

A lack of good quality art made by financially respected and supported, well-nourished and mentally fit artists isn’t just affecting those working in the industry; it affects anybody who engages with entertainment and art, and the impact of this crisis will soon be visible in the content you watch or read if things don’t change. You will see less new faces, and hear fewer new stories – because we can’t afford to write them!

Alexandra Donnachie is an award-winning actress and award-nominated writer and theatre maker. Her writer-performer credits include: twenty-eight (DEM Productions: Theatre 503); When We Died (Carbon Theatre: Vaults Festival 2020, Edinburgh Fringe Online 2021, Bruntwood Prize longlisted); 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle (UK Tour, Edinburgh Fringe 2018).


New iPhone photography exhibition opens in Paris



A shot of some of the work being displayed at the iPhone 15 photo exhibition in Paris
The two-day event held at the Salon Corderie features work from five photographers, all shot on iPhone

“I Remember You,” a two-day photography exhibition, has opened today in Paris highlighting original work shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The collective work of photographers Malin Fezehai, Karl Hab, Vivien Liu, Mika Ninagawa, and Stefan Ruiz incorporates people, places, and things that move them, exploring memories and the power of photography to preserve them.

“‘I Remember You’ brings together five photographers who share their deeply personal conceptions of memory, connection, and nostalgia,” explains Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D., the exhibition’s curatorial advisor. “It is a moving glimpse of life, preserved in time.”

In celebration of the opening, each artist spoke about how iPhone has contributed to their creative process and what they hope people will remember from their featured work.

Malin Fezehai is an Eritrean/Swedish photographer, filmmaker, and visual reporter currently living in New York. She has worked in over 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and America. Fezehai is a National Geographic explorer, and in 2023, she became a Climate Pledge grantee. She is working on a project about adaptation to living on water. Her career started in her native Sweden, where she studied photography before attending the International Center of Photography in New York. Her work focuses on communities of displacement and dislocation around the world. She was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme to photograph survivors of violent extremism across sub-Saharan Africa and published a book titled Survivors. She has received a 2015 World Press Photo Award and the Wallis Annenberg Prize, and was named one of the “30 Emerging Photographers to Watch” in 2015 by Photo District News. Her image depicting a wedding of Eritrean refugees in Israel was the first iPhone photo ever to receive a World Press Photo Award.

“The integration of the iPhone into my photography workflow marked a significant shift in how I perceive and capture the world around me — feeling more inclined to capture life as it happens — the fleeting, candid moments that often define the human experience,” Fezehai says. “Its ease of use and ability to capture high-quality images effortlessly enables me to explore and document the ordinary in extraordinary ways. That sentiment is embodied in the work I created for the show.”

“I Remember You” will be on display at the Salon Corderie in Le Marais in Paris on Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11, from 11 am to 7 pm.

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9 Christmas Markets to visit in the UK in 2023



A Christmas market in Bath, UK
UK Christmas market are also an opportunity to discover new destinations this winter.

It is Christmas market season in the UK.

From late November through December, towns and cities across the UK are coming alive with festivities and a variety of local markets offering handcrafted gifts from local artisans showcasing their talents to international vendors offering goods from around the world.

Beyond the shopping experience in the market stalls, twinkling lights, live entertainment, and mulled wine, UK Christmas market are also an opportunity to discover new destinations this winter.

Euronewsweek has selected nine of the country’s best Christmas markets, ideal for a family day trip or a romantic night out.

Here are our Christmas Markets to visit in the UK in 2023.

Birmingham Christmas Market 2023

A firm favourite on the city’s Yuletide calendar, Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market  is the largest German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Expect a fine range of traditional gifts and products on its 180 stalls and get into the  festive spirit while indulging in schnitzels, bratwursts, crepes, glühwein and weissbeer. Another huge draw is its bandstand location in Victoria Square and the programme of live music and carol singers that bring party vibes to your festive shopping. 

When? 3 November to 23 December 2023 

While you’re here
Check out outdoor skating at Ice Rink Birmingham, the Big Wheel Experience, or head to Wightwick in Wolverhampton to experience a traditional Victorian Christmas. 

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2023

Hyde Park, London

Transforming London’s most famous park, Winter Wonderland is the biggest Christmas attraction in the capital. Home to the world’s tallest transportable Ferris wheel and the UK’s largest open air ice rink, thrilling fairground rides and numerous bars and food stalls, you’ll need at least a day to enjoy all the attractions here. Don’t miss jaw-dropping circus acts at Cirque Berserk and creative ice sculpting workshops, and browse over 100 wooden chalets for unique gifts, festive decorations and culinary delights.

When? November 2023 to January 2024

While you’re here
Wander further afield and take photos of the festive window displays at Hamleys, Selfridge’s and Harrods, and the capital’s festive lights along Regent Street and Oxford Street.

Southbank Winter Festival 2023

Southbank Centre, London

The popular Winter Festival returns to London’s Southbank Centre this autumn, a festive favourite that sits alongside an eclectic programme of festive shows and events along the banks of the River Thames. All along the South Bank you’ll find twinkling wooden cabins selling Christmas gifts, from the quirky to the traditional. Make sure you get a selfie by the towering Christmas tree before you leave.

When? 28 October 2023 to 7 January 2024

While you’re here
Enjoy a live classical music concert Christmas in Tinseltown, featuring tunes from your favourite Christmas films played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and presented by film reviewer Mark Kermode on 14 December.  

Winchester Christmas Market 2023

Winchester Cathedral

With its unique location on the grounds of a celebrated English icon, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best. More than 100 chalets are home to hand-picked exhibitors offering exclusive gifts that visitors won’t find on the high street – from hand-crafted decorations and festive treats to craft beer and mulled wine.

When? 17 November to – 21 December 2023

While you’re here
Head inside the 1.000 year-old Cathedral to hear a range of seasonal services taking place, from Advent evensongs to carol services, featuring the acclaimed choir. 

York Christmas Market 2023

Parliament Street, York

Soak up medieval charm at York’s award-winning Christmas fair. Alpine-style chalets take pride of place on Parliament Street, offering an array of festive decorations, foodie treats and traditional Christmas gifts. For local Yorkshire produce, head for the Make in Yorkshire Yuletide Village, and for all the fun of the fair, slide down the Victorian-style helter-skelter at Kings Square. After all that excitement, you’ll need a tipple or two, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for a glass of mulled wine and a cup of hot roasted chestnuts.

When? 18 November to 23 December 2023

While you’re here

Lace up your walking boots for a 90-minute daily Festive Guided Walking Tour, which explores the history, tales and traditions of 2,000 years of festive tradition including Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, Yule and of course, our modern idea of Christmas.

Rochester Christmas Market 2023

Rochester, Kent

This Medway market attracts more than 130,000 visitors a year. Found in Rochester’s Castle Gardens, browse a range of chalet-style stalls selling everything from Fairtrade clothing to dog toys and homemade jams. Head over to the Bavarian food village for a bratwurst before letting loose on some good old-fashioned fairground rides. The market also coincides with the Dickensian Christmas Festival (2 to 3 December 2023), where you can immerse yourself in Victoriana, meet costumed characters and listen to open-air carolling.

When? 25 November to 10 December 2023

While you’re here
Grab your 19th-century ball gown and attend the Mistletoe Ball, part of the Dickensian Christmas Festival. 

Bath Christmas Market 2023

Bath Christmas Market sees more than 160 pop-up chalets set up on pretty Georgian streets and around its prized Abbey. Browse stalls selling food, decorations, homeware, jewellery and everything in between from local artisans and craftsmen in the South West and further afield. With new stalls to explore alongside the perennial favourites, you can indulge in a cup of mulled wine and a warm festive snack to keep those winter chills at bay.

When? 23 November to 10 December 2023

While you’re here
Check out Bath on Ice, which along with its ice rink, is home to Glow Golf, a mini golf course decked out with fairy lights. Glow-in-the-dark golf balls will also help you get a hole-in-one after dark.

Norwich Christmas Markets 2023

Norwich doesn’t have just one Christmas market; it has several! With festive events taking place from November, there are plenty of reasons to visit up until the big day itself. The largest, Festive Fair at The Forum, spills onto the pedestrianised amphitheatre opposite Norwich’s biggest medieval church. Browse stalls selling handmade East Anglian crafts, art, food and drink to the soundtrack of live Christmas music, and don’t miss the delicious street food.

When? 23 to 26 November 2023

While you’re here
Stop for a cup of warming Gluhwein at Sir Toby’s Beers on Norwich Market (Norwich’s smallest bar), The Nutcracker-themed afternoon tea at The Assembly House and the magical illuminations on Norwich Castle.

Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market 2023

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Step back in time at this award-winning Victorian Christmas Market spreading traditional festive cheer with shopping, street food and free entertainment. Around 300 stalls, complete with Victorian outfit-clad vendors, will be selling a wide range of gifts and seasonal products, and over on Wood Street, there’ll be a traditional funfair to keep the little ones entertained, including an original Victorian-era carousel.

When? 7 to 10 December 2023

While you’re here
Experience traditional winter blooms and ‘Wassailing’ (traditional folk singing) at Christmas at Shakespeare’s birthplace.

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Almost 300 London renters face no-fault evictions each week



A family at home
A third of all no-fault evictions in England in recent years have been in London, up 70 per cent in the last year | Photo: Jimmy Dean

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned that the Government’s delay in banning Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions has already taken a devastating toll on many Londoners, and that thousands more are at risk of becoming homeless if the Bill is delayed further into next year.  

New City Hall analysis reveals that 290 London renters a week have faced no-fault evictions since the Government’s pledge to strip landlords of the power to evict tenants without reason four years ago (also known as a ‘Section 21’ evictions given their legal basis in the 1988 Housing Act).  

Under current legislation, landlords in England can issue a Section 21 notice if they want to take possession of their property from its current tenants. Landlords do not have to give a reason for the eviction and only have to give two months’ notice.  

Ministers promised to scrap this method of evictions back in 2019 to give renters more security, and this year the Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, introduced the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill to Parliament which, if passed, would ban no-fault evictions for good.   

However, this four-year delay has had a detrimental impact on London renters, where the use of no-fault evictions is particularly high. City Hall analysis shows that since 2019, a third of all no-fault evictions in England took place in the capital, up 70 per cent in the last year. This analysis is based on the number of Section 21 notices that have been followed up with a possession claim. The true scale of the problem could be far worse as not all Section 21 notices will necessarily reach this stage [1]. A further delay of six months to the passing of the Bill into law would mean 15,000 more Londoners risk facing no-fault eviction.  

With homelessness in the capital already on the rise, Sadiq is urging Ministers urgently to strengthen and pass the Renters Reform Bill to prevent more London renters from being kicked out of their homes without good reason. In particular, he is calling on the Government to close any loopholes that would still enable landlords to unfairly evict tenants once Section 21 is removed. Sadiq is also calling on the Government to extend the notice period when tenants are evicted for no fault of their own – such as where the landlord wishes to move into the property – from two months to four, to allow renters sufficient time to seek advice and plan for an unexpected move, and to prevent homelessness. 

“This new analysis is deeply concerning. For too long, landlords have been able to take advantage of exploitative no-fault evictions, which leave renters vulnerable, simply because the Government refuses to act. It is inexcusable that four years after the Government vowed to ban no-fault evictions, so little progress has been made. Ministers must act swiftly to strengthen and pass the Renters Reform Bill to ensure that renters get the legal protections they desperately need and deserve”, says Sadiq Khan.  

Today (Monday 23rd October), is the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill. Khan has also called on the Government to urgently introduce a two-year rent freeze to ease the burden of the cost-of-living crisis, saving London renters on average £3,374 over two years, and to deliver the £4.9bn a year that’s needed to build more genuinely affordable homes across the capital.  

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