Online Performance FAQs
If you are considering applying to license a Nick Hern Books play for online performance, please find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions below.
For technical guidance and things to think about when performing your play online, please consult our Online Performance Advice and Compliance Guide.
If your query is not answered here, or to discuss anything else, please email the Performing Rights Department at email@example.com.
Can I perform a Nick Hern Books play online?
You can apply to perform a Nick Hern Books play online. Subject to availability of the performing rights, you can make your production available on an online platform. It must be password-protected or accessible only via a private link. You must apply before making arrangements or commencing rehearsals, in case the play is not available for online performance.
How much will it cost to perform a Nick Hern Books play online?
The standard fee is £75 (plus VAT where applicable) for each live performance or day that the production remains online. There is a lower fee for shorter plays, with prices available upon application. This majority of this money is paid to the author of the play, so your production will be helping writers during this difficult and challenging time.
I already have a licence for an upcoming theatre production which cannot go ahead. Does this mean I can perform it online?
It may be possible to convert your upcoming live production to an online performance, but this cannot be guaranteed, and your licence for an in-theatre production does not automatically cover an online performance. Please get in touch with the Performing Rights Department to see if the play you have licensed is available for online performance. You would also need to agree to a new set of terms and conditions.
If we perform to a physically present audience, can we also livestream or upload a recording of the performance to an online audience?
Yes, subject to availability of the online performing rights. If these rights for the play you are performing are also available, you can simultaneously livestream or upload a recording of the show to an audience online. You should submit your application via our Online Performances Application Form where you will be able to indicate that this is your intention.
Can I make my online performance public for anyone to watch?
No. It must be password-protected or accessible only via a private link. It cannot be available for anyone to view without some sorts of limits/protections in place.
Do I have to charge people to view my online performance?
No. It is up to you whether to charge for viewing or not. However, your performance must be password-protected or accessible only via a private link. It cannot be available for anyone to view without some sorts of limits/protections in place.
How long can I broadcast my online performance for?
That’s up to you, though it must be agreed with Nick Hern Books prior to your online performance. Your production may be broadcast live for an agreed number of performances, or recorded and made available for an agreed number of days, which we may have to limit. You will be charged for each live performance or day that the production remains online.
Can I publicly advertise my online performance?
Yes. However, you must not publicly share the link to view either the live broadcast or recording. The link to access these must only be provided privately to attendees.
Which platforms am I allowed to use?
You are permitted to use any platform that both enables your broadcast or recording to be password-protected or accessible only via a private link, and disables downloading or recording by the audience. We recommend Zoom for live broadcasts, and YouTube or Vimeo for recorded performances. You are not permitted to use Skype for live broadcasts as it is not possible to disable audience recording.
Can I upload my performance or perform live on social media?
You are not permitted to upload your performance or perform live on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat or Periscope. If you are interested in using Facebook, or any other social-media platform not listed above, for your online performance, please get in touch with the Performing Rights Department in advance of making any guarantees or arrangements.
How do I get copies of the script?
Copies of the script must be purchased for each member of the cast and creative team involved in the production. Ebook copies are available for most titles at a 20% discount from the Nick Hern Books website. If you wish to purchase print copies, you can currently use other online retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones).
Can I make changes to the script?
The text of the play you have licensed may not be altered in any way. The play should be performed as written in the published playtext. If you wish to make any cuts or changes to the script, you must seek approval for this in advance by contacting the Performing Rights Department.
Are inspection copies available for online performances?
Yes. Due to current service limitations at our warehouse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently unable to send out paperback copies of plays. However, where the play you are interested in is available in digital format, we can supply a digital inspection copy, for free, as a time-limited ebook. This can be read for thirty days from the date you download it, after which point the ebook will expire and will no longer be accessible on your device. Like our paperback inspection copies, you can receive a maximum of one copy of three different plays at a time. To request your digital inspection copies, please contact the Performing Rights Department.
Our amateur group is holding private play readings with no audience present. Do we need a licence for these?
Private play readings are permitted, and do not require an online performance licence. However, in these instances the only people permitted to be present at the reading (participating in the Zoom meeting, Skype call etc.) are those participating in reading the script aloud, and a maximum of one non-reading spectator (a director, teacher, facilitator or similar). If there are any additional, non-performing spectators present, this is considered to be a performance and you must therefore apply for a licence. If you are unsure as to whether your reading requires a licence, please get in touch with the Performing Rights Department for guidance.
Regardless of whether your reading requires a licence or not, you will still need a copy of the script for each person taking part.
I would like to perform a Nick Hern Books play online, but I'm not familiar with recording and uploading videos. What shall I do?
Please take a look at our Advice Sheet for further guidance and ideas for preparing an online performance.
I'm worried about video quality. Can we do an audio-only performance of a Nick Hern Books play online?
No. An audio-only performance would be considered an adaptation of the play. Nick Hern Books does not hold adaptation rights. Please contact the Performing Rights Department if you need further information.
Can I use music in my online performance?
The rights to perform music or lyrics (even if they are printed in full or suggested in the published playtext) are not necessarily included in your licence. Please contact the Performing Rights Department to enquire about these rights.
I recorded a production we performed in the past, for archive purposes. Can I now broadcast this?
Yes, subject to availability of the performing rights. Your previous licence does not cover you for a future online performance, or guarantee availability of the rights for online performance, so you will need to make a new application, as we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to broadcast a production previously recorded.
Will I be able to change the dates of my online performance, if needed?
Yes, subject to availability of the performing rights. A change of dates may affect the availability of performing rights for the play. You must immediately inform the Performing Rights Department of any changes to your licence.
Will I be able to cancel my online performance, if needed?
If your production is cancelled for any reason and you need to terminate your licence, you can do so at any time prior to the date of your first performance or broadcast date and receive a full refund. If your production has already started and you need to cancel one or more performances, you can do so and receive the equivalent refund. Refunds will incur an administration fee of £20 (however, please see below for further information about productions affected by COVID-19). If you also need to return a cast set of scripts purchased directly from Nick Hern Books, please arrange this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We understand that companies are currently facing significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so we are waiving refund administration fees for cancelled productions scheduled to take place on or before 31 December 2020.
How will you use my personal information?
The personal information we require from you when you apply to perform a Nick Hern Books play online, as well as details of the company performing this play, is used to process your application or to make enquiries on your behalf. We retain this information in order to contact you regarding your enquiry or licence, to supply you with any licence we may subsequently issue, and as a record of your application. We will not pass on this information to any third party, other than as required for the purposes of issuing a licence.