UK Comedy Promoters & Producers Code of Conduct
1. All information sent about a performance, such as start time, address, post code, point of contact, working telephone number and any other information should be as accurate as possible.
2. Where possible, promoters should be clear with an act about when they’re on and how long they’re doing.
3. A promoter should be open to an act making reasonable suggestions about running the room, advertising or their conditions.
4. Provisions should be made for a rider wherever possible. At the very least, acts should not be charged for water and soft drinks.
5. No performer or staff member should be put in a position where they don’t feel safe – not only during the performance, but also in regards to travel and accommodation arrangements. If travel to or from a venue on public transport involves performers or employees of the comedy club walking long distances through unlit or unsafe areas, this should be raised beforehand so that comedian, staff member or promoter can make suitable arrangements to remain safe.
6. Promoters should not harass comedians, staff or audience members.
7. For gigs where the promoter has said that petrol is covered, the amount should be agreed between the promoter and the act in advance.
8. We recognise that new performers are the future life-blood of the circuit and promoters should aim to support them where possible e.g. by giving them spots on bills with professional acts, chances of progression etc.
9. Where possible, open spot performances should be seen and, if requested by the act, promoters should be open to suggesting constructive guidance which in their opinion will help newer acts to improve quicker.
10. A promoter should be expected to put the comedy show on in a room that is separate from the rest of a venue (eg a pub where non-show customers might also be present). If this isn’t the case then the promoter should make the act aware of this in advance.
11. There should be a clearly-defined stage area, stage lighting , microphone and PA system at every gig. If any of these are not available the acts should be notified in advance, where possible.
12. Performers and audiences have a right to enjoy a performance that is not interrupted continually or aggressively. Promoters & producers are responsible for policing and, where necessary, having members of the audience who are excessively drunk, disruptive or repeatedly abusive, removed.
13. Heckling should be discouraged. There are several ways in which this can be enforced: signs around the venue and on the website, an announcement before the show starts, gentle warnings during the show and in extreme cases, ejection from the venue.
14. Audiences talking loudly and/or persistently amongst themselves during the performance should be stopped as soon as possible.
15. Where possible and appropriate, large groups should be asked to sign a behaviour bond setting out appropriate conduct.
16. Clubs should be clear and consistent about their process for applying for work. When offering acts booking windows in which to contact the club, they should not book up slots in advance of the time, or they should at least inform those acts in advance if their booking window changes.
17. Wherever possible, clubs should aim to book bills that reflect the diversity of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability and social background that exists in our industry.
18. The promoter must make it clear at the point of booking if a gig is a fixed fee, door split, profit share or door split with guarantee. If it is a fixed fee the club must stick to that fee and not reduce it because of low sales.
19. Fees and expenses should be paid within the timeframe agreed.
20. Method(s) of payment will be clearly communicated at time of booking/confirmation.
21. If an invoice is required, the promoter should inform acts/agents in advance and give them the opportunity to email them and/or have blank forms available that act can fill in on the night.
22. BACS payments should come with a specific reference to the promoter or the gig on a statement.
23. Best practice should be that “payment to follow” Is received by 14 days after the gig and in all cases it should be received by 30 days after. This is for shows where the audience buy tickets from a promoter. For gigs that receive money later from Unis/theatres/councils a maximum 3 months should be allowed.
24. If payment is likely to be delayed, it is the promoter’s responsibility to inform anyone affected at the earliest opportunity.
25. Agents should abide by the same timeframes when money is received for an act they represent.
26. Best practice is for it to be paid to the act within 14 days of receipt of the fee and always by 30 days.
27. If a promoter is filling or aiming to fill a large room (more than 70 seats), they should be paying at least some of the performers a reasonable fixed fee. This applies even if the promoter chooses to make their money from bar revenue whilst keeping ticket sales free/via vouchers or even if the promoter chooses not to make money but run the gig to publicise their venue or themselves personally. The only exception is for charity gigs.
28. The ratio of promoter profit to act payment has to be reasonable and, where requested, transparent.
29. A promoter should be transparent, if reasonably challenged, about fees and promotional costs. Often acts are unaware of the hidden expenses in putting on a gig, but have a right to fair pay.
30. If a promoter has to cancel a show, the acts must be notified at the earliest available opportunity.
31. When the promoter cancels a performance with less than 24 hours notice, the promoter is liable to pay the act the full fee. Cancellation less than a week before a gig should attract a 50% cancellation fee. Acts may choose to take replacement gigs in lieu of a cancellation fee, but this should always be up to the act to decide, without pressure from the promoter.
32. An act should be reimbursed for reasonable advance costs (e.g. if they would be expected to have bought a non-refundable train ticket, paid for a hotel room etc), where these costs have been agreed with the promoter.
33. An act should never be expected to share a hotel room unless they request to do so.
34. The promoter must be clear about accommodation arrangements at time of booking. If hotel accommodation is provided, it must be clear if the promoter is paying for it directly or if the act is to pay upfront and be reimbursed later. These arrangements may not be changed after the booking has been made in such a way that penalises the act. If the act is required to pay hotel costs and have them reimbursed, best practice is for this to be reimbursed within 14 days and never longer than 30 days.
35. A promoter must never give a performer’s personal contact details to audience members or the public and should always direct them to either the performer’s public twitter or facebook page, their website or their management/agent.
36. Promoters must not poach sites from existing comedy clubs.
37. This document will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.