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American Stage Shows (Dollar Cost)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1949

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asked the Secretary to the Treasury, how many American theatrical shows have been imported into this country during tine last 12 months; and at what cost in dollars.

Information about the number of American theatrical shows imported into the United Kingdom is not available, but during the 12 months ended 31st May, 1949, remittances to the U.S.A. by entertainment artists, including those engaged in theatrical productions, amounted to £470,000.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of one case in which no fewer than 8,000 dollars were permitted for the purpose of enabling two American artists to appear for one night in a show at Olympia?

In view of the fact that there is some unemployment on the stage in this country, will my right hon. Friend examine very closely any applica- tion for American dollars in this respect? After all, we can provide our own entertainment for ourselves.

Perhaps I might answer the question put by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton). The trouble is that this country cannot discriminate in these matters. It would be tantamount to setting up a censorship, and it might also mean that other countries would differentiate between our people and theirs in the same way.

is it not bad enough that we cannot buy books and pictures from other countries without being unable to have theatrical performances from other countries either?

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that British artistes are earning valuable dollars in the United States?

Before my right hon. Friend answers that question, would he also bear in mind that, with the consent of the Opposition, we have introduced a policy which limits the amount of American films brought to this country? Is it not only reasonable that we should do the same in regard to live entertainment?

Would my right hon. Friend say whether American artists who wish to be paid in ordinary sterling can be so paid, or whether they are forced to receive convertible sterling?