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Licensing and Permission: Dance and Theatre

Works on Stage

Staged works have multiple creative elements including text, music, production design, and choreography. Dramatic works performed in public must be licensed, no matter how much you are using.

Licensing Complete Productions and Scenes

Some dramatic licensing agencies offer complete production licenses that include the text, music, and choreography rights in a single license. One example type is productions with iconic choreography that is not easily separated from the total work, such as Jerome Robbins' West Side Story.

Licensing Only Choreography

There are three primary ways to license choreography:

  • Individual choreographers or choreographer's trusts
  • Choreography licensing agencies
  • Theater rights licensing agencies

Licensing Music for Dance and Theater Productions

To use someone else's music in a staged production, you will need to license it. There are different licenses for live music and sound recording use.

  • Live music accompaniment for dance and theater require a use rights for the composition plus grand (or dramatic) rights for the dramatic staging.
  • For sound recordings, you need a master use license for the specific recording plus a synchronization license for the dramatic staging.