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*** Licences for Virtual Performances (Zoom etc) are now available at this webpage***

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Virtual Performances

What Is A Virtual Performance?

Click/Tap here to apply for a Virtual Performance

A virtual performance is one in which the actors do not appear together on a conventional theatre stage but are generally in one or more physically separate locations to the audience. These performances are shown to the audience on social media sites (eg Facebook/Messenger Rooms or WhatsApp) or using video conferencing software (eg Zoom, Skype, Google Meet) or where individually each character’s part is recorded and edited together to form a composite video and then uploaded to a website or a social media platform (eg YouTube or Vimeo).

NOTE: a Virtual Performance licence is completely different to our separately available ‘Videography Licence’ or ‘Licence To Record’ which is available only as a supplementary licence to a traditional licensed performance where the actors and audience share the same theatre space.

What Types of Audiences Can See A Virtual Performance?

There are four…

  • a ‘closed user group’ audience where the performance is ephemeral (ie not recorded) and in which each member of the video conference audience has a strong connection to the performers; generally, this is through membership of the same producing organisation as the performers, and generally again, no fee or priced ticket will be charged or sold. An example of this would be a performance using Zoom.
  • a ‘closed user group’ audience where the performance is recorded and uploaded to a website or social media site where the access is limited to those persons with a strong connection to the performers; generally, this is through membership of the same producing organisation as the performers, and generally again, no fee or priced ticket will be charged or sold. An example of this would be a recording uploaded to YouTube with its ‘Visibility’ set to ‘Private’.
  • a ‘live stream’ audience where the performance is ephemeral and is, within the constraints of the digital delivery mechanism, seen by the audience at exactly the same time as the actors deliver their lines. Members of this audience may or may not be members of the general public and the producing organisation may or may not charge this audience a fee to watch the performance.
  • an ‘uploaded video’ audience (or an 'uploaded audio' audience) where each member of the audience can choose when to watch the video (or listen to the audio) during the period that it is available to them on the internet file sharing platform. Members of this audience may or may not be members of the general public and the producing organisation may or may not charge this audience a fee to watch the performance.

What Types Of Virtual Performance Licences Are Available?

There are four, to match the audience types above, as follows…

  • a Zoom-type ‘closed user group’ licence: this will be for a single Virtual Performance only, with the caveat that no recording is made of the performance whatsoever. If the closed user group consists solely of...
    • actors playing the parts in a play or panto together with the director (ie a virtual rehearsal), OR
    • a play reading committee

... then no royalties will be charged, and a licence is not required. However, if any other persons with strong connections to the performers (ie any members not directly involved in the Virtual Performance) are included in the video conference audience then royalties will be charged, and a licence is required as this is the virtual equivalent of an attended rehearsal. The royalties charged will be approximately 10% of the standard licence fee.

  • a YouTube-type ‘closed user group’ licence: this will be for a single Virtual Performance only, with the caveat that visibility of the recording is not allowed to any person not being a member of the producing organisation. Under this arrangement no royalties will be charged, and a licence is not required.
  • a ‘live stream’ licence: this will be for a single Virtual Performance only and will be subject to a licence fee of approximately 33.3% of the standard licence to perform fee if the audience pays to watch, or approximately 15% if there is no charge to watch. Again with the caveat that no recording is made of the performance whatsoever.
  • an ‘uploaded video’ or 'uploaded audio' licence: this will be subject to a licence fee of approximately 50% of the standard licence to perform fee if the audience pays to watch or listen, or approximately 25% if there is no charge to watch or listen. Additiionally, producing organisations may request a period during which the Virtual Performance may remain available to the audience to watch or listen. The above royalty rate will apply to each performance day within the requested period, which may not exceed 7 (seven) days.

What About Scripts?

If you have a free Preview Script then this may be printed and copied, or the pdf file distributed, for use by any of the active participants in the Virtual Performance.

If you have a free Perusal Script, then given that it says, 'not for rehearsal use', it may not be used in the Virtual Performance. Please contact us for further details.

Our full e-scripts (and our traditional printed scripts) are licensed for use solely by the person who buys them, so if you want to use an e-script (or a traditional printed script) for a 'live stream' or an 'uploaded' Virtual Performance, then a Script Copying Licence is required. Licensed copies made of the e-script or e-script pdf file or printed script may only be provided to the active participants in the Virtual Performance. 

Where a 'Closed User Group' performance that is not an 'attended rehearsal' takes place, we will, until further notice, waive the need to obtain a script copying licence.

What About Adapting A Script To Suite The Virtual Performance?

Not a problem. Using exits and entrances, together with stage directions and props, sets and scenery may all need some modification to suit the constraints of a Virtual Performance. All of the three licences above will include a clause that allows the Director to amend the script as he/she thinks fit in order to suit the particular needs of their Virtual Performance(s). We would expect these amendments to involve as few changes to the dialogue as possible and to be undertaken in a sensitive manner.

Are There Any Special COVID Arrangements Available?

Yes! If a producing organisation obtains a ‘live stream’ or an ‘uploaded video’ licence during the COVID lockdown, AND they request a royalties quotation that results in a Licence To Perform for a live stage production in a conventional theatre space being issued for at least two performances once the rules governing such spaces due to the COVID pandemic are lifted, then the Virtual Performance fees will be refunded as a ‘thank you’ from us and from the play or panto’s writer.

Click/Tap here to apply for a Virtual Performance Royalties Quotation