Bolton hypnosis show could be cancelled due to council's unusual 40-year-old rule making it illegal

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Hundreds of tickets have been sold for the show which is due to take place on Saturday.

Councillors in Bolton are set to decide whether a 42-year-old ban on hypnosis events in the borough is to come to an end ahead of a planned performance at the town hall on Saturday.

Robert Temple, is set to perform his comedy hypnosis show ‘Red Raw’ in front of an audience of hundreds at the the Albert Halls on Saturday, February 10. However, Mr Temple says the borough is one of only a handful in the country where hypnosis shows are not allowed and he will have to convince a hearing this week in front of a council licensing panel to allow him to perform. Bolton’s decision to ban all hypnosis came in 1982 when the council was given jurisdiction to refuse or grant licences.

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Due to the 42-year-old piece of legislation, local councils must authorise any show which includes ‘hypnotism, mesmerism and any similar act which produces induced sleep or trance’ which makes the person ‘susceptible to suggestion or direction’. A council licensing panel will sit on Wednesday to decide on Mr Temple’s application under the The Hypnotism Act 1952, which controls the exhibition, demonstration and performance of hypnotism.

Robert Temple, whose hypnotism show is coming to Bolton on SaturdayRobert Temple, whose hypnotism show is coming to Bolton on Saturday
Robert Temple, whose hypnotism show is coming to Bolton on Saturday

Mr Temple says as well as giving permission for the show this weekend, he hopes to persuade Bolton Council to streamline their licensing service to make applying to perform similar shows easier. He said: “Hypnotists haven’t legally been able to perform in Bolton for 42 years but I’m going to ask the council to change their process.

“There’s a really simple streamlined application process that the government put together for councils to use for hypnotism shows. However, councils can choose to do as much or as little as they want, to the point that some councils just say well we’ve never heard of it, go ahead without any checks. Some follow the process to the absolute letter and there’s a handful, Bolton is one of them, where they’ve chosen, 42 years ago, to but a ban in place where they won’t even look at the licences. The policy has been handed down over the years from licensing committee to licensing committee but I’ve eventually got them to question it.”

Documents published ahead of the hearing state that an application for a hypnotism event from Mr Temple was received by Bolton Council on January 25. More than 200 tickets have already been sold for this weekend’s show. Mr Temple has provided a written submission to the panel as he cannot attend in person.

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Describing his act, he said: “It’s a comic demonstration of hypnosis where a selection of volunteers are safely and gently relaxed into a hypnotic state, before being guided through a series of funny suggestions, routines and activities, such as talking in an unusual voice, performing like a pop star and mimicking a train, among others. The participants will then be re-awoken and returned to the audience. The show strictly adheres to the laws, guidelines and conditions of the Hypnotism Act 1952 along with the updates and revisions.”

Mr Temple said he has toured various shows for the past 20 years, hypnotising more than 30,000 people in around 3,000 performances. He has performed in venues as far away as the Las Vegas strip.

In the documents, Bolton Council said Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that they have no issue with the event and that following the application, enquiries were made with the other nine Greater Manchester licensing authorities. The council said all nine other councils confirmed they would consider applications and authorise hypnotism. The licensing panel will asked on Wednesday to grant or refuse authorisation to perform the show.

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