All titles are covered by copyright law from the moment they're written, usually until 70 years after the author has died, If you want to perform them publicly you need to seek the author's permission and pay them to stage their work.
Licensing fees are an essential part of many authors' incomes, and obtaining a licence both supports their work and ensures you have all the permissions you need to perform copyright protected plays.
A public performance is one where you invite members of the public to attend, even if you don't charge an entry fee.
Even if you don't charge for tickets, if your performance counts as a public performance then you will need a valid performance licence.
Every once a while a title may become restricted or completely withdraw for performance purposes. This could be for many reasons, but will usually mean there is a major production taking place. The main terms you will see on the title page in our store are:
- Royalty Free - these titles may be performed without paying any royalties. Always check first though to make the situation hasn't changed.
- Available - the title is available for performance (subject to other performances in your area)
- Restricted - the title has certain restrictions in place. Apply for a license as normal or email email@example.com to check availability.
- Withdrawn - this title has been completely withdrawn and is not available for performance at present.
The cost of a licence will depend on several factors:
- are you performing the full work or just an extract?
- is your group amateur or professional?
- is it a play, musical or pantomime?
- are they any extra hire charges for material such as band parts?
On the page for each title in our store, you will see a licence code. This code represents the licence cost per performance for AMATEUR performances of the title. A table of the codes and their corresponding fees can be found here.
When you apply for a performance licence we will issue a quotation for royalties based on your requirements.
All titles are licenced for performance as written. Any changes made to the work in the form of cuts, word changes or musical re-arrangements etc would, therefore, be a breach of both your license and the copyright of the work.
If you require to make changes to a work then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org detailing all changes you wish to make. We will then contact the author on your behalf, but cannot make any guarantees. Unless we issue agreement in writing to the changes then the work must be performed as written.
The simple answer is NO! As all our scripts are subject to copyright, it is illegal to copy any part of the script. It will be part of your licence agreement that you must purchase a copy of the script for each member of the cast as a minimum.
While you do not have to buy your scripts directly from us, all out titles offer a 'show set' which includes enough scripts for each major cast member plus 5 copies for the director, stage manager, props etc. These sets are at a reduced costs (usually 20% discount) plus come with free delivery in the UK.
If you wish to perform only part of a work either as an extract or reading or wish to perform a musical work in concert format, then special licences are available.
When completing your license application form, simply select this licence option. We will then get back to you with the relevant information.
Note these types of performance are usually at the reduced licence code A.
We do sometimes negotiate with authors to issue recording licences. These licences carry a fixed cost and allow you to make a recording of the performance for record purposes, or to distribute to the show company only. Sale of the recordings to people not connected directly with the show is not permitted.
When requesting your performance licence simply select this licence option. If you already have your performance licence but would also like to record the performance, then apply separately for the video licence.
If a video licence is not available for the work we will let you know.
All licence applications must be made and before rehearsals start.