Intro to Licensing
Licensing a play or musical for performance is an important part of the process of making theatre. When you license a show, you are providing a living wage for writers and helping safeguard their work.
We hope to make the process of licensing straightforward, quick, and uncomplicated. Every production is different and not every title in our catalog is licensed the same way. The requirements vary show-by-show, which has much to do with the wishes of the author and circumstances surrounding the title.
Some titles may be licensed automatically, with no restrictions. Other titles require additional conversation and may be restricted. Also, the Licensing fees often vary from title to title. These are based on the category of your performing group (Amateur or Professional), the agreement with the author, and the availability of the title.
Below, you'll find a few frequently asked questions to help you get started. If you have additional questions, visit our Help Site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need a license?
Any performance of a work under copyright for an audience must be licensed, regardless of whether or not admission is charged, whether the performance is public or private, and whether or not it is for charity or gain.
Why do I need to license my production?
Licensing your shows ensures that playwrights and composers are being fairly compensated for the use of their work.
How do I get a license?
You may apply online via any title page. Please remember that your License Agreement is not executed until we have received full payment of the licensing fees. Purchase Orders are not considered payment.
For a detailed walkthrough of the licensing process, visit our Help Site. Our team of Licensing Representatives are also available to assist every step of the way. Find your representative and their contact information here.
Competition pieces, cuttings, monologues/excerpts
If you are performing a copyrighted work, in whole or in part, at a festival or competition, you are still required to obtain a performance license. Titles which may be licensed for festival and competition use are marked “Cuttings Approved for Competitions” on the Samuel French website – we’ve already secured permission from the playwright for you to perform cuttings or scenes from these titles.
If a title is not marked as approved, you can still apply for a license but please be aware that we will need to seek permission from the author for your cutting. Approval is not guaranteed and it may take several weeks to receive a final answer. To expedite this process, please include a summary of proposed cuts or a list of scenes that will be performed in the “Special Requests” field on your license request.
Whenever possible, cuttings of plays will be licensed at a reduced rate of $45 per performance. Musical cuttings, if approved, can be licensed at $100 per performance but may be subject to additional fees including rental of music materials.
Monologues and brief excerpts of less than ten minutes do not require a license or other permission from Samuel French when performed for audition purposes or for a limited audience of adjudicators at festivals and competitions. Performances of excerpts in the final round of national competitions (such as the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival or International Thespian Festival) may be subject to a license fee payable at the competition. Please consult your competition’s rules and regulations for more information.
For more information about licensing for UIL competitions, click here.