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Stage hypnotism

Stage Hypnotism is regulated by the Hypnotism Act 1952.

Hypnotism includes hypnotism, mesmerism and any similar act or process which produces or is intended to produce in any person any form of induced sleep or trance in which the susceptibility of the mind of that person to suggestion or direction is increased or intended to be increased but does not include hypnotism, mesmerism or any such similar act or process which is self-induced.

All performances which involve hypnotism must be licensed and the premises in which the performance is to be held must also be licensed for Regulated Entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003.

If you are a performer and wish to show, demonstrate or perform acts of hypnotism for the purposes of entertainment at a licensed premises in Medway you will need to apply for a licence.

You must be over 18 years of age.


Any authorisation will be subject to conditions.


The performance shall be covered by a minimum of £5 million public liability insurance.  The hypnotist must provide evidence of this to the local authority and must be available for inspection at the performance.


No poster, advertisement or programme for the performance which is likely to cause public offence shall be displayed, sold or supplied, by or on behalf of the licence holder either at the premises or elsewhere.

Every poster, advertisement or programme for the performance which is displayed sold or supplied shall include, clearly and legibly, the following statement 'volunteers, who must be aged 18 or over, can refuse at any point to continue taking part in the performance'.

Physical arrangements

The means of access between the auditorium and the stage for the participants shall be properly lit and free from obstruction.

A continuous white or yellow line shall be provided on the floor of any raised stage at a safe distance from the edge.  This line shall run parallel with the edge of the stage for its whole width. 

Prohibition of hypnotising anyone under the age of 18

A person who gives an exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism on a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years shall, unless he had reasonable cause to believe that person had attained that age, be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

Application Process

To apply:

  • a completed application form 
  • Copy of Insurance

If you don't have Word, you may download the application for Stage Hypnotism (pdf   KB). To download this pdf you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this on your computer, please use our advice page.

Application forms must be sent a minimum of 28 days in advance of the performance.

Apply online

Apply for a hypnotism permit.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the council by the end of the 10 day target completion period.

For more information contact Licensing Unit by telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 / Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: licensing@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR