Canada’s weirdest laws: You can be arrested for an 'immoral' theatrical performance

It’s by no means a newsflash to anyone that strippers perform sexually provocative shows.
It’s by no means a newsflash to anyone that strippers perform sexually provocative shows. (Photo: iStock)

If you are a performer and are required to do some lewd, crude and rude things for a role, be cautioned: you could be arrested.

This head-scratching law is brought to you courtesy of our Criminal Code. S.167 of the code pretty much forbids immoral theatre performances and makes sure to catch everyone who may have a hand in bringing the performance to life.

See: Canada’s weirdest laws: Be careful how many coins you use when shopping

There are two parts to this law: the first part applies to managers, agents or people in charge of the theatre who allow the performance to go ahead.

The second part applies to the performers themselves who are guilty of being illegally immoral if they do the following:

Every one commits an offence who takes part or appears as an actor, a performer or an assistant in any capacity, in an immoral, indecent or obscene performance, entertainment or representation in a theatre.”

Before you go thinking this may be a law that is archaic and outdated and never used, think again.

In 2005, Bubbles Gentlemen’s Club, a St. John’s, N.L., strip club caught a hefty fine of $7,500, which was the maximum at the time, as it was hit with two charges of contravening s.167.

The club got in trouble because a performer named “Tangerine Dream” staged very explicit shows.

Now it’s by no means a newsflash to anyone that strippers in Canada perform sexually provocative shows, but this performance had an extra ingredient: sex toys.

This seems to have been too much to take for the authorities, who also charged the performer and the manager of the club. The charges were later withdrawn.

See: Canada’s weirdest laws: Hooting and hollering now allowed in Bracebridge, Ont.

Still if every strip club, manager and performer who has a hand in sexually explicit shows would be charged with this offence, the police and courts would be backlogged into the next decade.

Find a Lawyer