Child performance

This guidance is about the rules that apply to child performances. 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.  For information about child employment see our council webpage.

Guidance on 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.

As a local authority we are 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

Covid update

With the safety of children in performance being paramount, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to adhere to relevant government guidance, we are asking that applicants refer to the Government produced guidance to help people understand how to work safely during coronavirus.

Although this guidance is not specific to child performers, it is strongly advised that applicants have regard to the government guidance, to assist them in producing risk assessments for their workplaces and the child performers. Applicants will need to meet clear criteria to ensure that a child performer’s wellbeing is safeguarded, and the child is able to carry out their performance in safe conditions.

To apply for a Child Performance Licence, applicants will need to submit the following:

  • a Child performance declaration
  • If the child performer is deemed as Clinically Vulnerable or Clinically Extremely vulnerable, we will require a copy of the Risk Assessment which demonstrates the steps that have been taken to mitigate against the risk of Covid-19. 

Applicants will need to submit the above document(s) in addition to the Child Performance Licence application form.

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 (note that we need to be in receipt of all paperwork 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, before granting a licence we will require a letter from the head teacher of the child’s school to ensure that the child’s education will not suffer should a licence be granted.

The application & associated documents must be made on the standard Performance-Licence-Application-Form and sent to or posted to:

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