Generally, theatrical presentations by local authorities are standard-rated. Whilst such can be exempt under the cultural services provision in VATA 1994, Sch. 9, Grp. 13, item 1(b), to qualify for exemption under this provision, strict criteria must be met concerning commercial competition with similar shows in the private sector (VATA 1994, Sch. 9, Grp. 13, Note (3)).
This is considered further at ¶52-235, but many local authorities do not seek to meet the criteria (which must be expressly demonstrated to HMRC’s satisfaction) due to the potential impact exempting theatrical presentations would have on their partial exemption de minimis limits (¶51-200ff.).