The set of rules and regulations termed as the “Stage Plays and Public Entertainments Act” have been inactive for the last 71 years but it could be re-implemented according to recent developments.

The legislation intended to effectively put performing artistes on the leash is being re-introduced by the government. The Stage Plays and Public Entertainments Act has been inactive since it was enacted in 1949.

The laws have been undergoing revision since December 2009 when artistes met at the National Theatre and were shocked to learn that the government was revising and planning to re-introduce the law without their knowledge.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development contracted three individuals; Afrigo Band’s James Wasula, Bakayimbira Dramactors’ Andrew Benon Kibuuka, and  one Dick Matovu to revise the Act in 2009.

The rules that are now being widely discussed affect musicians, actors, comedians, authors, photographers, DJs, VJs, record labels, broadcasters, promoters and venue owners, etc.

DJ Ciza on the decks

Below are of the rules from the Stage Plays and Public Entertainments Act that we managed to access:

  • Section 6 of this act; each performance of an artist will not happen unless the artist or performer receives a permit from ‘’the commission”.
  • Section 7 spells that before a person puts up any form of public performance in any location, they will need to apply to the commission for a permit and; submit personal information, name the location for the performance, include a copy of the script (which must be translated to English if not originally in English), include any music/song which is to be used, and include a certified translation, pay the application fee and attach proof of payment of the application.

After submission of this, “the commission” will, according to the information available, decide whether the artist in question is eligible to showcase their art or not.

  • Section 9 says that no person shall advertise their public performance in any way without submitting a written application to “the commission” showing that they own (or have permission) for the works to be performed and that the Local government in the area has allowed them to advertise in their area.
Sheebah Karungi performs

Under the Documentaries and Commercial Still Photography regulations:

  • Section 6: A person shall not engage in any works to produce a motion film or even ‘be a producer’ without a licence from the commission.
  • Section 7: A producer will apply for a licence to produce a film but attach the following;

*A full description of all the scenes of the entire film and text of all the music to be used in the film.
*If a text or song/music is not in English, the producer shall avail a full translation.
*If part of the film is to be shot in Uganda, the producer has to include a statement showing which scenes are to be shot in Uganda.
*The producer will also submit the budget for the film and also indicate how much every participant will be paid.
*The producer will also submit his net worth statement to demonstrate that he/she is financially responsible.

After all this is submitted, the commission will decide whether the film producer should be granted permission to produce his/her film or if the film is fit to be produced.

  • Section 8: A person will not engage in any form of commercial photography without a licence from the commission. Also still photography will only take place in areas that are allowed. These will be gazetted by the commission in the newspapers.
Ugandan photographer Samie Luswata
  • Section 10: The commission may require a bond from a film producer to make sure that the producer, during their work adheres to the regulations.

The regulations will be followed up and implemented alongside heavy license and permit fees and fines. Several stakeholders in the entertainment industry are against the new regulations.

Read Also: The new set rules against artists have started to bite – Sophie Gombya

Josh Ruby is an Editor with high interest and knowledge in the Ugandan entertainment space, an industry he has been actively part of since 2010. Leads to breaking stories are welcome!

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