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Child performances

Many children enjoy performing, whether on stage, films, advertising or on television and parents enjoy supporting them. However, laws exist which are designed to protect children’s welfare and prevent them from being exploited.

The local authority is responsible for issuing performance licences and must be satisfied that:

  • the child’s health will not suffer
  • the child’s formal education will not suffer
  • the venue where the performance or rehearsal takes place is suitable
  • the child will be chaperoned at all times (this can be the child’s own parent or a registered chaperone hired by the applicant)
  • the conditions of the licence will be observed

All children who perform in television, film, on stage, who work as models, or who take part in paid or professional sport, will require a licence issued by their local authority if:

  • a charge is made, whether for admission or otherwise
  • the performance takes place on licensed premises, for example in a hotel, a pub or a theatre
  • the performance is a live broadcast, for example a television or radio broadcast
  • the performance is to be broadcast to the public or is being recorded for public viewing
  • for children taking part in sport or modelling for which payment is being made

A child does not need a licence if:

  • No payment, in respect of the child taking part in the performance, is made
  • They do not need time off school to undertake the performance
  • They perform for only four days in any six-month period

The law applies to all children from birth until completion of compulsory school age. A young person is compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of the school year (1 September – 31 August) in which they reach the age of 16.

Next steps

It is essential that  a child performance licence is obtained before the performance takes place, therefore we ask for the application to be sent to us at least 21 days before the show/performance is due to start. Applications received with less than 21 days’ notice may be refused (please note that we need to be in receipt of all paperwork in order to commence the processing of a performance licence).

It is a legal requirement that the licence applicant is the person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part. This does not include those who provide children for a production, such as the proprietor of a drama, dance school or an agent.

If school absence is required, the local authority, before granting a licence, require a letter from the headteacher of the child’s school to ensure that the child’s education will not suffer should a licence be granted.

The application must be made on the standard Performance Licence application form and sent to or:

South Gloucestershire Council
Department for Children, Adults and Health
Child Performance Licensing
PO Box 1955
BS37 0DE

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