The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29
Licensed Theatres' Ordinance, 1862
Licensed Theatres' Ordinance, 1862.
Whereas it is expedient to make provisions for the regulating of places of public exhibition and entertainment within the Province of Otago:
Be It Therefore Enacted by the Superintendent of the said Province with the advice and consent of the Provincial Council thereof as follows:
Stage entertainments in unlicensed Theatres prohibited.
1. From and after the passing of this Ordinance if any person or persons shall within the City of Dunedin or within any other place to which the provisions of this Ordinance shall be made applicable by Proclamation of the Superintendent in the Provincial Government Gazette act represent or perform or cause to be acted represented or performed for hire gain or reward any interlude tragedy opera comedy stage play farce burletta melodrama pantomime or any stage dancing tumbling or horsemanship or any other entertainment of the stage whatsover to which admission shall or may be procured by payment of money or by tickets or by the purchase of any article as a condition of admission or by any other means token or consideration as the price hire or rent of admission or if any person or persons shall take or receive or cause to be taken or received any money goods or valuable thing whatsoever by way of rent fee or reward for the use or hire of any house room building garden or place wherein such entertainments of the stage as aforesaid shall be acted represented performed or exhibited or being the owner or occupier thereof shall knowingly permit or suffer the same to be used and applied every such person shall in case the place wherein such entertainments shall be acted represented performed or exhibited be without the written authority or license of the said Superintendent upon being lawfully convicted forfeit and pay for every such offence any sum not exceeding fifty pounds.
In places where spirituous liquors sold.
2. In every case in which any stage play or other entertainment of the stage as hereinbefore mentioned shall be acted or presented in any house room building garden or place wherein any spirituous or fermented liquors shall be sold every actor therein shall be deemed to be acting for hire.
Fee for license.
3. For every such license a fee net exceeding Five Pounds for each calendar month during which the theatre is licensed to be kept open shall be paid to the Provincial Treasurer for the public use of the Province an d every such license shall be issued yearly by the Provincial Treasurer on the authority of the Superintendent.
Proof of being Licensed.
4. In any proceedings to be instituted against any person for having or keeping an unlicensed theatre house room building garden or place if it shall be proved that the same is used for the public performance of entertainments of the stage as hereinbefore described the burden of proof that such theatre house room building garden or place is duly licensed or authorised shall be on the party accused and until the contrary shall be proved such theatre house room building garden or place shall be taken to be unlicensed.
Penalty for stage entertainments offensive to morals.
5. If any person shall act represent perform or exhibit or cause to be acted represented performed or exhibited in any theatre or other place as aforesaid any stage play or any act scene or entertainment of the stage as hereinbefore mentioned or any part thereof or any prologue or epilogue or part thereof of a lewd indecent or immoral description every such person so offending if the theatre or other place wherein the same has been acted represented performed or exhibited be without the written authority or license of the said Superintendent shall forfeit and pay for every such offence any sum not exceeding Fifty pounds over and above any separate penalty such person may have incurred under any other provision of this Ordinance and if the theatre or other place wherein the same has been acted represented performed or exhibited be duly licensed shall forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding fifty pounds and the authority or license by or under which the said theatre or other place was opened shall become absolutely void.
Superintendent may prohibit offensive stage entertainments.
6. It shall be lawful for the said Superiniendent whenever he shall be of opinion that it is fitting for the preservation of good manners decorum or public peace so to do to forbid by writing under his hand the acting representing performing or exhibiting of any stage play or any act scene or entertainment of the stage as hereinbefore mentioned or part thereof or any prologue or epilogue or any part thereof in such theatres or other places for which an authority or license may have been granted in pursuance of this Ordinance and every person who shall act represent perform or exhibit or cause to be acted represented performed or exhibited any stage play or other entertainment as aforesaid or any act scene or part thereof or any prologue or epilogue or part thereof contrary to such prohibition as aforesaid shall forfeit and pay for every such offence any sum page 61 not exceeding fifty pounds and every authority or license (in case there be any such) by or under which the theatre or other place was opened in which such offence shall have been committed shall become absolutely void.
Penalty for permitting disorderly conduct and persons of bad character to assemble in theatres.
7. If any person having or keeping any house room building garden or place licensed as a theatre in virtue of this Ordinance shall knowingly permit or suffer any lewd or disorderly conduct in any part thereof or any common prostitutes or persons of notoriously bad character to assemble therein or in any appurtenance thereof such person so offending shall forfeit and pay for every such offence any sum not exceeding twenty pounds and in the discretion of the convicting Justices the license by or under which the said theatre or other place was opened may be suspended for such time as they shall think fit or declared to be forfeited.
Officers and Constables of Police on duty to have free access.
8. It shall be lawful for every officer sergeant or constable of police when on duty to demand and have free access to any house room building garden or place licensed as a theatre in virtue of this Ordinance and if any person having or keeping such theatre or the servant of any such person shall knowingly refuse free access to such officer sergeant or constable of police such person shall forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding twenty pounds.
On public occasions the Superintendent may order theatre to be shut.
9. It shall be lawful for the Superintendent to order that any theatre shall be closed on such public occasions as to him shall seem fit and while any license shall be suspended or any such order shall be in force the theatre to which the same applies shall not be entitled to the privilege of any license but shall be deemed an unlicensed house.
Building to be used as a theatre to be surveyed before license granted.
10. In order to provide as far as possible against accident to the public from the insecurity of any house room building or place sought to be licensed as a theatre or from any alarm while people are assembled therein before granting such license it shall be lawful for the Superintendent at the expense of the applicant to order a survey of such building or place by a person of skill and a report to be made to him with regard to the strength and safety of such building or place and the facilities it affords or otherwise for egress from the same in the event of any alarm from fire or other cause while any large number of persons is assembled therein and it shall be lawful for the Superintendent to withhold any such license in any case in which it shall appear that any alterations or other measures are requisite as precautions against accident until the same shall be performed.
Prosecutions for offences to be raised within three months after their commission.
11. No person shall be liable to be prosecuted for any offence under this Ordinance unless such prosecution shall be commenced within three calendar months next after the offence shall have been committed.
Proceedings far forfeitures and penalties to be summary.
12. All offences against this Ordinance may be heard and determined and every forfeiture and penalty in respect thereof be awarded and imposed by or before any two Justices of the Peace in a summary way.
13. Throughout this Ordinance every word and term used in the singular number or masculine gender only shall be construed equally to imply and include the plural number and females as well as males unless there be something in the context repugnant; to such construction.
Powers to be exercised by Superintendent with advice of Executive Council.
14. All the powers by this Ordinance vested in the Superintendent of the Province shall be exercised by and with the advice and consent of his Executive Council.
15. This Ordinance shall be termed and may be cited and referred to as the "Licensed Theatres' Ordinance 1862."
Printed under the Authority of the Provincial Government of Otago, by Mills, Dick & Co, Stafford street, Printers to the said Provincial Government tor the time being.