Many children enjoy performing on stage, in films, on TV, as models or in sport and parents are usually very supportive. However, laws exist to protect the children’s welfare and prevent them from being exploited (Children & Young Persons Act 1963 and the Children (Performance & Activities) (England) Regulations 2014. 

When does a child need a performance licence?

Children of compulsory school age and children who are pre-school age require a child performance licence if they wish to participate in:

  • a live broadcast or recorded performance - for example, a television or radio programme, film or internet streaming
  • a theatre performance, where audience members are required to pay a charge
  • any performance in a licensed premises
  • modelling work (photographic or catwalk)  
  • paid/professional sport 

A performance licence may be required whether or not the child is paid. Amateur groups, musical performances, student productions or films are not exempt from the requirements.

All children who require a licence must be accompanied by a Local Authority approved chaperone or their own parent or carer.

No licence is required when:

  • no payment is made to the child and they have not taken part in performances in the previous six months on more than three days
  • no payment is made to the child and the performance is arranged by a school
  • no payment is made to the child and the performance is exempted by the secretary of state e.g. Scout gang shows.

Who issues the performance licence?

In Newcastle, the Access and Attendance Service is responsible for licensing children who live in Newcastle and must be satisfied that 

  • The child’s education, health and well-being will not suffer 
  • The place of performance/rehearsal is satisfactory 
  • Chaperoning arrangements are satisfactory 
  • The conditions of the licence will be adhered to 

Timescale for the issuing of licences

Please note all licence applications require submission 21 days prior to the performance to comply with statutory guidance. Applications received after 21 days cannot be guaranteed to be issued.

How do I get a licence?

The person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part must apply to the Local Authority in which the child lives for the Child Performance Licence.

Please complete the Performance Licence Application Form (pdf, 46.8kb)

  • allow 21 days to receive your licence
  • send a photograph of the child with your application and make sure it is signed by the parents or guardians
  • licences must be applied for per child, per production.

We must be satisfied that arrangements for the supervision and protection of the child are adequate and that the disruption to the child's education is kept to a minimum.

Medical certificates

A medical declaration to prove that a child is fit to take part in the performance/activity may be requested by the Local Authority. Any costs incurred with obtaining medical certificates are generally accepted as being met by the body responsible for the production.

Other Information

The National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) can offer further guidance and information about children in entertainment.

Contact us:

Email: attendanceservice@newcastle.gov.uk
Phone: 0191 277 4500
Write to us:
Access and Attendance Service
Newcastle City Council
Room 225 Civic Centre
Barras Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 8QH

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Page last updated: 
26 April 2017
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