Description of Entertainment (Amendment) Order 2013

The Home office has now released the amended guidance to the Licensing Act which includes the details of the new Description of Entertainment (Amendment) Order 2013.

This Order provides for further exceptions to Regulated Entertainment and one new addition.

These exceptions will be of some benefit to Premises Licences holders as they may provide the opportunity to expand their current offering without the requirement to hold a licence for these activities.

New Exceptions to Regulated Entertainment

The Exemption Apply Only between the hours of 08.00 – 23.00

  • Performance of a Play for an audience of less than 500
  • Indoor Sporting Events for an audience of less than 1000
  • Performance of a Dance1 for an audience of less than 500

1Excluding dance which is regulated under the relevant legislation for sexual entertainment venues.

This means that providing the specific conditions (times & audience size) are met, those activities listed will no longer require a premises licence. We have also now had official confirmation that Stand Up Comedy is not considered to be a licensable activity.

These changes are in addition to the changes introduced under the Live Music Act 2012, for which we provided more details in an earlier article; More Information on the Live Music Act 2013 >>

Unlike the Live Music Act 2012 the above listed exemptions do not require an alcohol licence to be in place in order to apply or need to be held in a ‘designated workplace’.

Combined Fighting Sports - Cage Fighting & Mixed Martial Arts

The order has also clarified the situation with regard to cage fighting and mixed martial arts as opposed to Boxing or Wrestling which has long been a licensable activity under the Licensing Act 2003.

Any sport carried out for an audience, which combines one or more martial art with boxing or wrestling will now be considered a ‘Combined Fighting Sport’ whether it takes place indoors or outdoors.

‘Combined Fighting Sports’ are now considered to be Regulated Entertainment and thus a licensable activity.

Definition of an Audience

We are often asked what defines an ‘audience’ and the guidance also provides clarification here:

‘For the purposes of regulated entertainment, the term “audience” refers to any person for whose entertainment (at least in part) any licensable activities are provided. An audience member need not be, or want to be, entertained: what matters is that an audience is present and that the purpose of the licensable activity is (at least in part) intended to entertain any person present.’

Further more:

‘…to be licensable, one or more of these activities needs to be provided (at least partly) to entertain that audience; has to be held on premises made available (again, at least in part) for the purpose of enabling that activity; and must also take place either:

  • In the presence of a public audience, or
  • In private, where a charge is made with a view to profit.’

Private events would be considered licensable if the intention is to make a profit by the delivery of regulated entertainment, even if the profit is for charitable purposes. Any profit does not have to come directly from a ‘cover charge’ for entertainment, but rather includes the provision of any associated activities such as the sale of food or drinks.

However an audience only covers those people who are or could enjoy that entertainment through their proximity to it. So if a venue has multiple rooms in the same venue, they could hold multiple entertainment events in different rooms, providing they can control the number of people accessing any one room to the maximum number permitted by the exemption.

Please note; someone able to look in to a room within a venue would be considered an audience member. Therefore for example if the entertainment is being held in a marquee and guests are enjoying (dancing etc.) the entertainment outside the marquee, they would be considered audience members.

Licensing Conditions

As the activities listed (when they meet the specific requirements) are not considered licensable activities, any conditions outlined on a premises licence would not apply unless they refer to the specific activity.

For example a condition which reads:

‘Windows and doors must remain closed whilst Regulated Entertainment is undertaken’ 2

It would not apply to the Performance of a Play between 08.00 and 23.00 if the audience were less than 500.

However if the condition were to read:

‘Windows and doors must remain closed throughout the Performance of Plays’

Then the condition would still apply as it refers to a specific activity (Performance of a Play), be that activity licensable or not.

2Caution should however be exercised as any regulated entertainment which takes place at the same time as the Play (in this example) would still be considered regulated entertainment and thus a condition such as the first example (2) would still apply. For example if recorded music were being played in another part of the premises, doors and windows would have to remain closed throughout to comply with the licence conditions.

Removing Defunct Condition

If a premises licence contains conditions specific to a newly deregulated form of entertainment, then it is possible and often advisable to have these conditions removed through a Variation or Minor Variation of the premises licence.

The guidance which accompanies the licensing act makes specific reference to the removal of such conditions in order to deliver clarity of the licensing process and as such unless there are ‘serious specific concerns’ about the entertainment proposed licensing authorities should agree to remove conditions.

It would now therefore be a good time, while these changes are still fresh, to make these changes. Our licensing consultants can carry out this Variation of your Premises Licence on your behalf and this can often be done through the simpler Minor Variation process. Please contact us on 01784 434 392 or email us at >>

More Information


Author - Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy. He delivers training courses and provides expert opinion on alcohol & entertainment licensing, for individuals, organisations and public bodies. Peter is a frequent contributor to industry publications.

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