Theatres and Cinemas Act


Published: 1976-07-15

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Theatres and Cinemas Act
THEATRES AND CINEMAS [CH.384 – 1





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

THEATRES AND CINEMAS
CHAPTER 384

THEATRES AND CINEMAS

LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES
1 - 2 LRO 1/2008
3 - 4 Original
5 - 6 LRO 1/2008
7 - 13 Original


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS


PART I
PRELIMINARY


SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.


PART II
LICENSING OF PREMISES


3. Licensing of premises for performance of plays and showing of films.
4. Enforcement of section 3.


PART III
REGULATION OF PLAYS AND FILMS


5. Establishment of Plays and Films Control Board.
6. Plays and films to be approved.
7. Prohibition of presentation of obscene plays or films.
8. Defence of public good.
9. Saving for certain performances and exhibitions in private dwellings.


PART IV
MISCELLANEOUS


10. Appeals.
11. Powers of entry and inspection.
12. Regulations

FIRST SCHEDULE — Provisions with Respect to Licences.

SECOND SCHEDULE — The Plays and Films Control Board.

THEATRES AND CINEMAS [CH.384 – 3





[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 384

THEATRES AND CINEMAS
An Act to control theatres and cinemas and the public

performance and exhibition of plays and films.
[Assent 12th September, 1975]

[Commencement 15th July, 1976]

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1. This Act may be cited as the Theatres and Cinemas
Act.

2. In this Act —
“Board” has the meaning assigned thereto in section

5;
“film” means any record, however made, of a

sequence of visual images which is capable of
being used as a means of showing that sequence
as a moving picture;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Thea-
tres, Cinemas and Films;

“play” means —
(a) any dramatic piece, whether involving

improvisation or not, which is given
wholly or in part by one or more persons
actually present and performing, and in
which the whole or a major proportion of
what is done by the person or persons
performing, whether by way of speech,
singing or acting, involves the playing of a
role; and

(b) any ballet given wholly or in part by one or
more persons actually present and
performing, whether or not it falls within
paragraph (a) of this definition;

“premises” includes any place;
“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made

under section 12;

17 of 1975
7 of 1980
25 of 1995

Short title.

Interpretation.

CH.384 – 4] THEATRES AND CINEMAS






STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

“public performance or exhibition” means —
(a) a performance of a play, or, as the case may

be, an exhibition of a film, in a public place;
or

(b) a performance of a play, or, as the case may
be, an exhibition of a film, which the public,
or any section thereof, are permitted to
attend, whether on payment or otherwise;

“public place” has the same meaning as in section 4 of
the Penal Code.

PART II
LICENSING OF PREMISES

3. (1) Subject to the following provisions of this
Act, no premises shall be used for the purpose of any public
performance or exhibition except under and in accordance
with the terms of a licence granted under this Act by the
Board.

(2) The provisions of the First Schedule shall have
effect with respect to licences under this Act.

4. (1) If a public performance or exhibition is given
at any premises in respect of which a licence under this Act is
not in force —

(a) any person concerned in the organisation or
management of that performance or exhibition;
and

(b) any other person who, knowing or having
reasonable cause to suspect that such a perfor-
mance or exhibition would be given at those
premises without such a licence being in force in
respect thereof —

(i) allowed the premises to be used for the
giving of that performance or exhibition; or

(ii) let the premises, or otherwise made the
premises available, to any person by whom
the premises were used for the giving of that
performance or exhibition,

shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) If, while a licence under this Act is in force in

respect of any premises, any of the terms, conditions or
restrictions on or subject to which the licence is held is
contravened or not complied with —

Ch. 84.

Licensing of
premises for
performance of
plays and
showing of films.

First Schedule.

Enforcement of
section 3.

THEATRES AND CINEMAS [CH.384 – 5





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) the holder of the licence; and
(b) any other person who, knowing or having

reasonable cause to suspect that the premises
would be used otherwise than in accordance with
those terms, conditions and restrictions —

(i) allowed the premises to be so used; or
(ii) let the premises, or otherwise made the

premises available, to any person by
whom the premises were so used,

shall be guilty of an offence:
Provided that, where the holder of the licence is

charged with an offence under this subsection, it shall be a
defence to prove that the contravention or failure to comply
took place without his consent or connivance and that he
exercised all due diligence to prevent it.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection
(1) or (2) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine
not exceeding two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for
a term not exceeding six months, or both.

(4) If the holder of a licence under this Act is
convicted of an offence under subsection (2), then, subject
to section 10, the Board may revoke the licence:

Provided that the licence shall not be revoked under
this subsection by virtue of the holder’s conviction as
aforesaid unless either —

(a) the time for bringing an appeal against the
conviction has expired without such an appeal
having been brought; or

(b) such an appeal has been brought and abandoned
or finally determined otherwise than by the
quashing of the conviction.

PART III
REGULATION OF PLAYS AND FILMS

5. (1) There shall be established for the purpose of
this Act a Board to be called The Bahamas Plays and Films
Control Board which shall have in New Providence and
the rest of The Bahamas the powers conferred by this Act
on a Board; and is hereafter in this Act referred to as the
Board.

Establishment of
Plays and Films
Control Board.

CH.384 – 6] THEATRES AND CINEMAS






STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2008

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1),
the Minister may from time to time appoint other Boards
as he may think necessary.

(3) The provisions of the Second Schedule shall have
effect with respect to the constitution of the Board and
otherwise in relation thereto.

6. (1) Subject to the following provisions of this
Act, no public performance or exhibition shall be given
otherwise than in circumstances approved by the Board
pursuant to regulations made under subsection (2).

(2) The Minister shall by regulations make provision
for the grant or refusal by the Board of approval under
subsection (1), and such regulations may contain different
provision for such grant or refusal under different
circumstances.

(3) If a public performance or exhibition is given in
contravention of subsection (1) —

(a) any person concerned in the organisation or
management of that performance or exhibi-
tion; and

(b) any other person who, knowing or having
reasonable cause to suspect that such a
performance or exhibition would be given
as aforesaid —
(i) allowed any premises to be used for

the giving of that performance or
exhibition; or

(ii) let premises, or otherwise made
premises available, to any person by whom
the said premises were used for the giving
of that performance or exhibition,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or
both.

7. (1) Subject to sections 8 and 9, if an obscene
performance of a play or an exhibition of an obscene film
is given, whether in public or private, any person who
(whether for gain or not) presented or directed that
performance or presented that exhibition shall be guilty
of an offence and liable —

Second Schedule.

Plays and films
to be approved.

Prohibition of
presentation of
obscene plays or
films.

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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding
two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding six months;

(b) on conviction on information, to a fine not
exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprison-
ment for a term not exceeding three years,
or both.

(2) A prosecution on information for an offence
under this section shall not be commenced more than two
years after the commission of the offence.

(3) No person shall be proceeded against in respect
of a performance of a play or the exhibition of a film or
anything said or done in the course of such a performance
or exhibition —

(a) for an offence at common law where it is of the
essence of the offence that the performance or
exhibition or, as the case may be, what was said
or done, was obscene, indecent, offensive,
disgusting or injurious to morality; or

(b) for an offence under section 4 of, and paragraph
6 of the Second Schedule to, the Vagrancy Act
consisting of exposing to view in a public place
an indecent exhibition.

and no person shall be proceeded against for an offence at
common law of conspiring to corrupt public morals, or to
do any act contrary to public morals or decency in respect
of an agreement to present or give a performance of a play
or an exhibition of a film, or to cause anything to be said
or done in the course of such a performance or exhibition.

(4) For the purpose of this section a performance of
a play or an exhibition of a film shall be deemed to be
obscene if, taken as a whole, its effect was such as to tend
to deprave and corrupt persons who were likely, having
regard to all relevant circumstances, to attend or see it.

8. (1) A person shall not be convicted of an offence
under section 7 if it is proved that the giving of the
performance or exhibition in question was justified as
being for the public good on the ground that it was in the
interest of drama, ballet or any other art, or of literature or
learning.

Ch. 89.

Defence of public
good.

CH.384 – 8] THEATRES AND CINEMAS






STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(2) It is hereby declared that the opinion of experts as
to the artistic, literary or other merits of a performance of a
play or of a film may be admitted in any proceedings for an
offence under section 7 either to establish or to negative
the said ground.

9. Nothing in section 7 or 8 shall apply in relation
to a performance of a play or an exhibition of a film on a
domestic occasion in a private dwelling.

PART IV
MISCELLANEOUS

10. (1) Any of the following persons, that is to say —
(a) an applicant for an approval under section 6

whose application is refused;
(b) an applicant for the grant, renewal or transfer of

a licence under this Act in respect of any
premises whose application is refused;

(c) an applicant for the variation of any terms,
conditions or restrictions on or subject to which
any such licence is held whose application is
refused;

(d) a holder of any such licence whose licence is
revoked by the Board under subsection (4) of
section 4, or who is aggrieved by any term,
condition or restriction or subject to which the
licence is held,

may, at any time before the expiration of the period of
twenty-one days beginning with the relevant date, appeal
to the Minister and the Minister may make such order as
he thinks fit, and that order shall be final.
In this subsection “the relevant date” means the date on
which the person in question is notified of the refusal of his
application, the revocation of his licence or the imposition
of the term, condition or restriction by which he is
aggrieved, as the case may be.

(2) Where a licence under this Act is revoked under
subsection (4) of section 4 or an application for the renewal
of such a licence is refused, the licence shall be deemed to
remain in force —

Saving for
certain
performances
and exhibitions
in private
dwellings.

Appeals.

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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) during, any period within which an appeal under
this section may be brought and, if such an
appeal is brought within the period for doing so,
until the determination or abandonment of the
appeal; and

(b) where an appeal under this section relating to
such a refusal as aforesaid is successful, until the
licence is renewed by the Minister.

(3) In the case of an appeal in relation to an
application of which, in accordance with subparagraph
(1) of paragraph 2 of the First Schedule, notice was
required to be given to the Commissioner of Police, notice
of the appeal shall be given to the Commissioner as well as
to any other person to whom it is required to be given
apart from this subsection.

11. (1) If a magistrate is satisfied by information on
oath that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting, as
regards any premises specified in the information —

(a) that an offence under subsection (1) of section 3
is being or will be committed in respect of those
premises; or

(b) that a performance of a play or an exhibition of a
film is to be given at those premises, and that an
offence under section 6 or 7 is likely to be
committed in respect of that performance or
exhibition,

the magistrate may issue a warrant under his hand
empowering any police officer at any time within fourteen
days from the date of the warrant to enter the premises
and —
(i) in a case falling within paragraph (a) of

this subsection, to inspect the premises;
(ii) in a case falling within paragraph (b) of

this subsection, to attend any performance
of a play or any exhibition of a film which
may be given there.

(2) Any police officer may, at all reasonable times
enter any premises in respect of which a licence under this
Act is in force at which he has reason to believe that a
performance of a play or an exhibition of a film is being or
is about to be given and inspect them with a view to seeing
whether the terms, conditions or restrictions on or subject
to which the licence is held are complied with.

First Schedule.

Powers of entry
and inspection.

CH.384 – 10] THEATRES AND CINEMAS






STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

12. (1) The Minister may by regulations make
provision for all or any of the following matters —

(a) the fire-fighting equipment to be maintained, and
other precautions to be taken for the prevention
of fire, on licensed premises;

(b) the regulation of seating arrangements, the
prevention of obstruction in gangways, corridors
and exits, and the employment of supervisory
staff, in licensed premises during such time as
members of the public are thereon;

(c) the control, storage and use of any inflammable
substance on licensed premises;

(d) the preservation of order on licensed premises;
(e) restricting and controlling the exhibition in

cinemas and theatres of advertisements; and
(f) any other matter or thing authorised or required

by this Act to be prescribed.
(2) In this section “licensed premises” means premises

in respect of which a licence under this Act is in force.

FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 3(2))

PROVISIONS WITH RESPECT TO LICENCES
1. (1) The Board may grant to any applicant and from time

to time renew a licence under this Act for the use of any
premises specified therein for any purpose referred to in
subsection (1) of section 3 on such terms and conditions and
subject to such restrictions as may be so specified.

(2) Subject to subparagraph (3) of this paragraph,
paragraph 4 of this Schedule and subsection (2) of section 10; a
licence granted under this Act shall, unless previously cancelled
under paragraph 5 of this Schedule or revoked under subsection
(4) of section 4, remain in force for one year or for such shorter
period specified in the licence as the Board may think fit.

(3) The Board may grant a licence under this Act in
respect of such one or more particular occasions only as may be
specified in the licence.

(4) Where a licence has been granted under this Act to any
person, then the Board may, if it thinks fit, transfer that licence to
any other person on the application of that person or the holder of
the licence.

Regulations

Grant, renewal
and transfer of
licences.

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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

2. (1) An applicant for the grant or transfer of a licence under
this Act in respect of any premises shall give to the Board and to the
Commissioner of Police not less than twenty-one days notice of his
intention to make the application and furnish such particulars and
give such other notices as may be prescribed.

(2) An applicant for the renewal of a licence under this Act in
respect of any premises shall give to the Board not less than twenty-
eight days notice of his intention to make the application.

(3) In relation to such a licence under this Act as is authorised
by subparagraph (3) of paragraph 1 of this Schedule —
(a) subparagraphs (1) and (2) of this paragraph shall have effect as if

for the reference to twenty-one or, as the case may be, twenty-
eight days notice there were substituted a reference to fourteen
days notice; and

(b) the said subparagraph (1) shall have effect as if the requirement
as to notice to the Commissioner of Police were omitted.
3. (1) The person making an application for the grant,

renewal or transfer of a licence under this Act shall on doing so pay
to the Treasurer such fee as may be prescribed, except that no fee
shall be payable under this paragraph on an application for the grant
or transfer of a licence under this Act in respect of one or more
particular occasions if the Board is satisfied as regards that occasion
or each of those occasions that the play or plays to be performed or
the film or films to be exhibited are of an educational or other like
character or are to be performed or exhibited for a charitable or
other like purpose.

(2) Upon the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence under
this Act there shall be paid to the Treasurer such fee as may be
prescribed.

4. In the event of the death of the holder of a licence under
this Act in respect of any premises, that licence shall be deemed to
have been granted to his personal representatives in respect of those
premises and shall, unless previously transferred to some other
person or cancelled or revoked, remain in force until the end of the
period of three months beginning with the death and shall then
expire, so, however, that the Board may from time to time, on the
application of those representatives, extend or further extend the
said period of three months if it is satisfied that the extension is
necessary for the purpose of winding up the deceased’s estate and
that no other circumstances make it undesirable.

5. The Board upon receiving from the holder of a licence
under this Act which is for the time being in force, a written
request in that behalf accompanied by the licence, may cancel
the licence.

6. (1) Where an application is made to the Board for the grant
of a licence under this Act in respect of premises which are to be, or
are in the course of being, constructed, extended or altered and the


Notice in respect
of applications
for grant,
renewal or
transfer of
licences.

Fees.

Transmission of
licence on death
of holder.

Cancellation of
licence.

Provisional grant
of licences.

CH.384 – 12] THEATRES AND CINEMAS






STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

Board is satisfied that the premises would, if completed in
accordance with plans deposited in accordance with the
requirements of the Board, be such that it would grant the
licence, the Board may grant the licence subject to a condition
that it shall be of no effect until confirmed by it.

(2) The Board shall confirm any licence granted by virtue
of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph if and when it is satisfied that
the premises have been completed in accordance with the plans
aforesaid, or in accordance with those plans as modified with its
approval, and that the licence is held by a fit and proper person.

7. The holder of a licence under this Act in respect of any
premises may at any time apply to the Board for such variations
of the terms, conditions or restrictions on or subject to which the
licence is held as may be specified in the application; and, subject
to section 10, on any such application the Board may make such
variations (whether specified in the application or not) in any of
those terms, conditions or restrictions as it thinks appropriate, or
may refuse the application.

SECOND SCHEDULE (Section 5(3))

THE PLAYS AND FILMS CONTROL BOARD
1. The Board shall consist of —

(a) a chairman appointed by the Minister;
(b) the Permanent Secretary to the Minister, or a person

appointed by him as his representative;
(c) the Commissioner of Police, or a person appointed by him

as his representative;
(d) four other persons selected, from time to time, by the

chairman, being members of a panel of not more than
fifteen persons appointed by the Minister, for the purpose
of constituting the Board.
2. Any member of the Board (other than the Permanent

Secretary to the Minister or the Commissioner of Police) shall,
subject to the provisions of this Schedule, hold office for such
period, not exceeding three years as the Minister may determine,
and shall be eligible for reappointment.

3. The Minister may appoint any person to act in the place
of the chairman or any other member of the Board in case of the
absence or inability of the chairman or that member to act.

Variation of
terms of licence.

Constitution of
Board.
7 of 1980, s. 2.

Tenure of office
of members.

25 of 1995, s. 2
and Sch.

Acting
appointments.

THEATRES AND CINEMAS [CH.384 – 13





[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

4. (1) Any member of the Board other than the chairman
may at any time resign his office by instrument in writing
addressed to the chairman, who shall forthwith cause it to be
forwarded to the Minister and, from the date of the receipt by the
chairman of such instrument, that member shall cease to be a
member of the Board.

(2) The chairman may at any time resign his office by
instrument in writing addressed to the Minister and, from the date
of the receipt by the Minister of such instrument, the chairman shall
cease to be chairman or a member of the Board.

5. The Minister may, if he thinks it expedient so to do, at any
time revoke the appointment of the chairman or any other member
of the Board.

6. The names of the members of the Board as first constituted
and every change in the membership thereof shall be published in
the Gazette.

7. (1) The chairman of the Board shall convene meetings of
the Board at such times as may be necessary or expedient for the
transaction of its business and such meetings shall be held at such
places and times and on such days as the chairman may determine.

(2) A quorum of the Board shall be five.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this Schedule the Board may

regulate its own proceedings.
8. The Board may appoint and employ, at such remuneration

and on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit, but subject to the
prior approval of the Minister in each case, a secretary and such
other officers, servants and agents as it thinks necessary for the
proper discharge of its functions:

Provided that nothing in this paragraph shall prevent the
assigning to the Board, to act as such an officer, servant or agent of
the Board, of any public officer.

Resignations.

Revocation of
appointments.

Publication of
membership.

Procedure of
Board.
7 of 1980, s. 2.

Officers, servants
and agents.