You must hold a permit, under the Hypnotism Act 1952, to stage a public performance of hypnotism for entertainment purposes - whether live or broadcast. You won’t need a permit if the hypnotism is for the purpose of scientific demonstration or research, or if you are only hypnotising yourself.

"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.

Permits can be obtained by applying to the local authority within which the performance premises is located.

If you stage hypnotism for entertainment purposes without a permit or break any of the conditions on your permit, you could be fined up to £1,000.

  • How to apply

    To apply for a permit, complete the application form available on the right hand side of this page. Once completed, please submit this via post or email to the Licensing Department at least 28 days before the day of the performance. The application must be accompanied by the following documents:

    • Proof that the performance is covered by Public Liability Insurance, to a minimum of £1,000,000. This insurance could be held by either the hypnotist or the performance premises.
    • Copies of any advertising material, posters or programs associated with the performance.

    The application costs £80; this can be paid either with a cheque made payable to Winchester City Council, or with a credit/debit card by calling the office on 01962 848 188. Your application will not be considered without payment.

    A copy of your application will be forwarded to both the Chief Officer of Police and the Fire Authority for their consultation.

  • Guidance notes

    Before applying, ensure that any advertising material, posters and programs bear the phrase ‘volunteers, who must be aged 18 or older, can refuse at any point to continue taking part in the performance.’ Your application may be refused if there is no evidence of this.

    Some performance venues may hold a Premises Licence which has a condition placed on it prohibiting the performance of hypnotism on the premises. In these circumstances, a permit for a performance of hypnotism would not be granted for that premises. Please check with your proposed performance venue before submitting your application. 

    A separate application must be made by the person who will be carrying out the act of hypnotism for each premises/venue they intend to be used.

    The Licensing Authority may apply conditions to your permit, if granted, and may take steps to ensure that those conditions are complied with.

    Please be aware that tacit consent does not apply to this type of application because there is an overriding reason relating to the public interest, namely the need to ensure public safety. You must not stage your performance unless a permit has been granted.

    No refund will be issued for refused applications.