From Mark Pemberton, Chief Executive, National Operatic and Dramatic Association
I can assure you that the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, the major representative body for amateur theatre, is extremely concerned about the implications of the Licensing Act (ArtsProfessional issue 81, September 6).
Many amateur theatre groups in rural areas have traditionally relied on the flexible occasional licence system to perform in their village or community hall. Its replacement by Temporary Licences (restricted to 96 hours), the increased cost of maintaining a licence, increased levels of bureaucracy, the effects of the changes to alcohol licensing and the need for a licence for the use of school halls will all affect our members profoundly.
Essentially we are sceptical that the ?one size fits all? approach of the new legislation is going to work. There can be no comparison between a major rock venue in London and a village hall in Devon. To try to apply a single set of regulations and fees to both is absurd.
And what frustrates us is that the professional theatre has sleepwalked into the new licensing regime. Some of these problems will hit not just the voluntary sector, but those professional companies who tour to school halls or use ?found spaces?. The Licensing Act will homogenise the provision of theatre and drive out all that is innovative, different and individual.