When you sign up for AF&C services, the person in charge of the structure gives the n° of its entertainment organiser licence - first category (theatres) or second/third category (production and dissemination structures). This n° will feature in OFF programme theatre and show flyers.
If the person in charge of the structure does not provide the licence number when signing up for the Festival OFF d’Avignon programme, “amateur performance” will appear on the show flyer.


Licence categories             

There are three licence categories that correspond to professions defined by the Labour Law as different operating methods in the profession of entertainment organiser (article D 7122-1 of the Labour Code):

  • category 1 licence for managers of performance spaces prepared for public performances, and who operate them effectively. They look after the maintenance and layout to hire them to a presenter or a producer/presenter;
  • category 2 licence for producers of shows or tour organisers who are responsible for a show and notably that of employers with regard to the artistic set. They choose and stage shows, they coordinate the human, financial, technical and artistic means required and assume liability;
  • category 3 licence for show presenters who are responsible, as part of the contract, for welcoming the public, for the ticket office, performance health and safety and for tour organisers, when they do not have employer liability concerning the artistic set.

One single entertainment organiser may engage in several of these professions and therefore have several of these licences.

When the performance is guaranteed under contracts concluded between several entertainment organisers, these contracts contain the name and first name of the producer or tour organiser licence holder, the company name and its registered office once the producer or tour organiser is a legal entity (article D 7122-25 of the labour code).


There is no monitoring of the artistic quality of the project presented by the licence applicant. It will be checked that the applicant meets the requirements for obtaining a licence.

Licence renewal is subject to the verification of the legality of the situation of the applicant with regard to labour law, social security and literary and artistic property. In case of breach, the licence may be withdrawn (article L 7122-12 of the labour law).

Officers, judicial police officers, inspectors and labour inspectors and law enforcement officers for social security organisations are authorised to record an infringement characterised by organising entertainment without a licence (article L 7122-18 of the labour law).

Public authorities and organisations whose mission is monitoring the application of labour law, social security and literary and artistic property are authorised to communicate to regional directors of cultural affairs, competent authorities by delegation by prefects, any information concerning the situation of entertainment organisers with regard to their obligations.

French Structures

The performing arts profession is regulated.


Any structure engaged in, as their main profession, producing or presenting entertainment or operating a performance space is an entertainment organiser (article L7122-2 of the labour code) and must I this capacity have an entertainment organiser licence. Engaging in entertainment organisation without a licence is forbidden. The licence is valid for 3 years.
The licence is personal and non-transferable. Therefore, a company producing shows must have its own licence and cannot use the licence of another structure and prepares contracts of employment for itself.
The licence is granted to the director and the person in charge of the organisation.
In a non-profit organisation, this may be a member of the office, or an employee with leadership responsibilities. This person must however have received a mandate to be a licensee.
Warning, a licensee who is a performance artist or technician in the organisation cannot include as regards unemployment insurance hours worked in this organisation. During inspections, the real roles of people in the company are taken into account, and not just their denomination.


By exception, individuals or legal entities whose main occupation is not producing or presenting entertainment, or managing performance space can operate without a licence, up to a maximum of six performances* per year.
All occasional organisers working without requiring a licence for performances at the Festival OFF d’Avignon must send a prior declaration (Cerfa 14886*01) to the DRAC PACA by post or electronically at least one month before the anticipated performance date. They can make a joint declaration for all six performances.
The prefect (DRAC) confirms receipt of this declaration within fifteen days of receipt of this declaration.
Occasional entertainment organisers who pay artists directly must contact the GUSO (Guichet Unique Spectacle Occasionnel/Occasional Show Portal) This portal is a free service enabling employers to pay compulsory contributions simply.


“An amateur artist in the field of artistic creativity is any individual who performs, alone or in a group, an artistic activity on a non-professional basis and who receives no compensation” (article 32 of the freedom of creation act dated 8th July 2016).
As set forth in the decree n° 53-1253 dated 19th December 1953, amateur associations “can produce three shows per year” maximum, “each of these shows will comprise a maximum of ten performances* for the year”. These groups do not have to be licence holders, except if they regularly call upon one or several performing artists receiving remuneration, it concerns organising entertainment on a casual basis (see above).
The decree implementing the creation act will be published shortly and put on the OFF website.

Structures based in a European Economic Area country (outside France)

Organisers can plan temporary and occasional shows during the Festival OFF d’Avignon, subject to sending a prior declaration (Cerfa 14885*01) to the DRAC PACA by post or electronically at least a month before the date of the first performance.
The prefect (DRAC) confirms receipt of this declaration within fifteen days of receipt of this declaration.

Structures based in a non-European Economic Area country

If organisers perform during the Festival OFF d’Avignon, they must submit an application for a licence for the duration of the performances (Cerfa 11780*05), according to the same conditions as organisers whose registered office is based in France.
This request must be sent to the regional prefect (DRAC PACA) for the duration of the public performances planned.
If organisers contract with an organiser based in France and a licensee, they must send a prior declaration (Cerfa 11783*04) to the regional prefect (DRAC PACA) at least a month before the date of the first performance.
The prefect (DRAC) confirms receipt of this declaration within fifteen days of receipt of this declaration.
Foreign organisers are subject to French legislation (particularly in terms of VAT).

Sanctions Promoting performing arts without a licence (or without a declaration, for companies not based in France) is a criminal offence (article L 7122-16 and subsequent articles of the labour law): main sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros for individuals; an additional sentence of a maximum period of closure of the establishment(s) used to commit the aforementioned offence which has a fixed term of five years; a second additional sentence of posting and communicating the ruling rendered under the conditions laid down in article 131-35 of the penal code. Legal entities can also be held liable for infringement (article 121-2 of the penal code) and fined a maximum of 150,000 euros pursuant to article 131-38 of the penal code as well as to sentences closing the establishment and posting or communicating the ruling.

Administrative fines may be imposed for organisers based in France that contract with companies not based in France and who have not completed their declaration (art. R7122-40 of the labour law). Individuals can be may be penalised by an administrative fine of a maximum 1,500 euros and corporate bodies 7,500 euros.

The lack of a licence number on promotional material and the lack of reference to the producer or touring agent on contracts are liable to a fourth class fine.