Guide

Music, photography, visual art and comedy

Visual art, comedy and performing arts

If you work in the performing arts, whilst you may have specialised requirements you will still need to follow basic business principles, particularly concerning legal and taxation matters.

Public performance regulations

The law requires you to get a licence from your local council for any live entertainment for an audience. Entertainment includes:

  • theatrical performances
  • dancing, singing, music or other similar forms of entertainment
  • circus performances
  • public contests, matches, exhibitions or displays of boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, billiards, pool, snooker, darts or similar sports and games

There are exceptions to when the licence is required, such as performance that is part of religious worship. Your local council will be able to supply a list of the exceptions.

Find information on the Entertainment licence (Northern Ireland).

Search GOV.UK's Licence Finder for other licence requirements for your business.

If you are promoting or arranging a live event for an artist, you may have extra obligations such as venue fire safety and taking care of security arrangements. For more information, see venues and musical events.

One of the key considerations, whether you are just starting out as a performer or have been in the industry for a long time, is your marketing.

Even if you are represented by an agent, you can help yourself with self-promotion and marketing. For instance, you can set up a small business website or blog to help you interact directly with the public. You may also want to consider making your material available through other channels such as social networks or digital publications which are relevant to your specific area.

You will need to take into account copyright issues to protect yourself and to avoid infringing someone else's intellectual property rights. See protecting your intellectual property.