Music, Plays and Films


You will need a licence If you are planning to put on a play, show a film, a performance of dance or have an event that involves live or recorded music with members of the public in attendance.

If it is a one off event or performance it can be authorised using a temporary event notice. However, if you want to hold more than 12 events in a year you will need a premises licence.

If you seek to have a film classified for showing or reclassification of an existing film for showing within the borough please refer to our Film Classification Policy 2017 [pdf] 290KB. Email the Licensing team if you have any further questions.

Entertainment deregulation

Entertainment deregulation took effect from 6 April 2015.

Cross-activity exemption

There are some exemptions to these regulations. Entertainment provided by – or on behalf of – local authorities, health care providers or schools that takes place on their premises is one example. The exemption allows entertainment between 08:00-23:00 on the same day and there is no audience limit.

Live or recorded music at the non-residential premises of a local authority, hospital premises or school premises is also exempt from entertainment licensing between 08:00-23:00 on the same day. This is providing that the audience is no more than 500 people and that the organiser has permission from the premises owner.

Community premises

Live or recorded music at a church hall, village hall, community hall or similar community premises is also also exempt from entertainment licensing between 08:00-23:00 on the same day. This is providing that the premises doesn't already have a licence to sell alcohol, the audience is no more than 500 people and that the organiser has permission from the person responsible for the premises.

Live amplified and recorded music

Live amplified and recorded music is also exempt from entertainment licensing between 08:00-23:00 the same day. This is providing that the premises has an on-licence and the audience is no more than 500 people. The workplace (pub garden) exemption only applies to live amplified music.

Unamplified music

Unamplified music is exempt from entertainment licensing between 08:00-23:00 on the same day. There are no licensing restrictions or audience limit for this exemption. 

Circuses

Any entertainment (excluding films, boxing or wrestling) will be exempt from entertainment licensing. This is providing that it takes place within a movable structure that can accommodate the audience and that the venue hasn't been on the same site for more than 28 consecutive days. 

Incidental films

Incidental (not the main attraction) films are exempt from entertainment licensing. This is providing that the film is incidental to some other activity and does not undermine the licensing objectives.

Exhibition of films

Exhibition of films in community premises are exempt from entertainment licensing between 08:00-23:00 on the same day where the audience is no more than 500 people and that each screening abides by respective age classification ratings. 

Olympic wrestling disciplines

Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling are exempt from entertainment licensing between 08:00-23:00 on the same day. This is providing that the audience is no more than 1,000 people and that the event and spectators all take place and are accommodated in the same building.

In conclusion, any entertainment after 23:00, sexual entertainment or events with more than 500 people attending will need a licence. There are a few exceptions.

Live Music Act 2012

The Live Music Act came into force on 1 October 2012. It removed the licensing requirement for:

  • Unamplified live music taking place between 08:00 and 23:00 in all venues
  • Amplified live music taking place between 08:00 and 23:00 before audiences of no more than 200 people in a venue authorised to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises
  • Amplified live music taking place between 08:00 and 23:00 before audiences of no more than 200 people in workplaces not otherwise licensed under the 2003 Act (or licensed only for the provision of late night refreshment)
  • The provision of entertainment facilities
  • Extends the licensing exemption for live music necessary for Morris dancing – or dancing of a similar type – performances. This extension will then apply to live or recorded music instead of just unamplified live music

Contact us

For more information please email the licensing team.