Licensing of Theatres
Repeal of existing mandatory licensing provisions
91. The provisions at section 74 of the 2015 Act repeal the existing mandatory requirement for theatrical performances to be licensed under the Theatre Act 1968 (the 1968 Act) and supporting provisions in the 1968 Act that allow for powers of entry and inspection. Section 74 of the 2015 Act also removes the exemption for premises licensed under the 1968 Act from the public entertainment licensing regime in the 1982 Act. This means that local authorities will be able to licence theatres under the public entertainment licence requirements contained in section 41 of the 1982 Act. Section 74 also inserts an equivalent of the anti-censorship provisions from the 1968 Act into the 1982 Act, so that licensing authorities will not be able to censor theatrical performances under the public entertainment licensing regime within the 1982 Act.
Local Authority resolution
92. Following the repeal of the theatre licensing provisions within the 1968 Act, local authorities may wish to consider making a public entertainment licensing resolution, or vary an existing resolution, under section 9 of the 1982 Act in order to require theatres to obtain a public entertainment licence. This requires local consultation, publicity and a 9 month period of notice before having effect. Local authorities are familiar with setting a resolution to bring activities within the scope of public entertainment licensing as the public entertainment licensing regime is currently used for licensing activities such as concerts, funfairs, variety shows etc. Having the local authority set out the scope of the public entertainment regime allows for greater flexibility and local authorities will, for example, be able to exclude premises offering plays to very small audiences from the licensing requirement where they consider that appropriate and proportionate.