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Public Order Act 1986

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[F129DPublic performance of playE+W

(1)If a public performance of a play is given which involves the use of threatening words or behaviour, any person who presents or directs the performance is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred [F2or hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation].

(2)This section does not apply to a performance given solely or primarily for one or more of the following purposes—

(a)rehearsal,

(b)making a recording of the performance, or

(c)enabling the performance to be included in a programme service;

but if it is proved that the performance was attended by persons other than those directly connected with the giving of the performance or the doing in relation to it of the things mentioned in paragraph (b) or (c), the performance shall, unless the contrary is shown, be taken not to have been given solely or primarily for the purpose mentioned above.

(3)For the purposes of this section—

(a)a person shall not be treated as presenting a performance of a play by reason only of his taking part in it as a performer,

(b)a person taking part as a performer in a performance directed by another shall be treated as a person who directed the performance if without reasonable excuse he performs otherwise than in accordance with that person's direction, and

(c)a person shall be taken to have directed a performance of a play given under his direction notwithstanding that he was not present during the performance;

and a person shall not be treated as aiding or abetting the commission of an offence under this section by reason only of his taking part in a performance as a performer.

(4)In this section “play” and “public performance” have the same meaning as in the Theatres Act 1968.

(5)The following provisions of the Theatres Act 1968 apply in relation to an offence under this section as they apply to an offence under section 2 of that Act—

  • section 9 (script as evidence of what was performed),

  • section 10 (power to make copies of script),

  • section 15 (powers of entry and inspection).]

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Amendments (Textual)

F1Pt. 3A inserted (E.W.) (1.10.2007 except so far as relating to the insertion of ss. 29B(3), 29H(2), 29I(2)(b)(4)) by Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 (c. 1), ss. 1, 3(2), Sch.; S.I. 2007/2490 {art. 2}

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