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Contact your council to apply for a theatre licence if you want to run a theatre or put on a public performance of a play in Scotland.

A ‘play’ includes any dramatic piece, involving speech, singing or action and the playing of a role. This includes ballets and musicals. You need a theatre licence even if the performance will be free.

If you already have a public entertainment licence and you want to put on a play, you still need to get a theatre licence - but if you get a theatre licence, you don’t need a public entertainment licence as well.

A theatre licence needs to be renewed every year, unless it’s a temporary licence to cover a single performance or a limited run of performances.


Anyone can apply for a theatre licence, but you’ll need to prove that you have public liability insurance.

How to apply

Contact the council where the play is to going to performed.

They will let you know how long in advance of the performance you’ll need to apply, and how much you’ll need to pay.

If the performance is educational or for charity, your fee may be refundable.

You’ll also need to give details of the performance and the premises.

Fines and penalties

If you put on a public performance of a play without a licence, or you don’t follow any of the conditions of your licence, you can be fined up to £5,000, imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both.