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From Our Archive: 25 years ago in The Stage (March 17, 1994)

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A quarter of a century ago, we reported on a strange set of affairs: Bolton councillors debating on whether to lift a city-wide ban that had been imposed on performing hypnotists.

We reported: “Hypnotists from northern England say they are ‘hopeful’ that Bolton Council will reverse its 12-year-old decision to ban them from performing in the town. Bolton councillors meet this week to discuss lifting the ban. But there is widespread concern among professional hypnotists that the activities of sensationalist hypnotists such as Alex Leroy, who was featured on television recently, will result in adverse publicity. Stockport hypnotist Craig Williams had shows cancelled in Bolton last week after threats from the council.

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“ ‘Bolton is the only town to have entirely banned hypnotism,’ he fumed. ‘If I went ahead with the shows, I could face a £400 fine while the licensee could have his licence withdrawn.’

“Bolton’s decision to ban all hypnotism came in 1982 when the council was given jurisdiction to refuse or grant licences under the 1952 Hypnotism Act. Last October, Blackburn and Darwen lifted their ban on hypnotism after complaints from licensees. If the Bolton ban is lifted, pressure will be increased on Preston to follow suit. At present, hypnotists in Preston are refused the right to public performances, although they can appear at private functions.”

If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive

From Our Archive: 30 years ago in The Stage (March 2, 1989)

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