Apply for a child performance licence
Many children enjoy performing on stage, in films, on TV, as models or in sport and parents are usually very supportive.
However, there are specific laws which regulate child performances to protect the child’s welfare and prevent them from being exploited.
In many cases, a performance licence is required before a child can take part.
When does a child need a performance licence?
If they are of compulsory school age (5 to 16) or younger and 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 or 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 council 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 6 months on more than 3 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 e.g. Scout gang shows.
Who applies for the licence and how?
The person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part must apply to the council in which the child lives.
An individual licence is required per child, per production.
Complete the application form and make sure it is signed by the parents or guardians.
You also need to include:
- a copy of the child’s birth certificate (scanned copies are acceptable – please do not send original hard copies)
- two identical prints (un-mounted) of a photograph of the child taken during the last 6 months or an electronic likeness (e.g. a jpeg file)
- a copy of the contract, draft contract or other documents (where they exist) containing details of the agreement regulating the child’s participation in the performance or activity to which this application relates.
What welfare checks are carried out?
The council 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
A medical declaration to prove that a child is fit to take part in the performance or activity may be requested. Any costs incurred with obtaining medical certificates should be met by the body responsible for the production.
Apply in good time. All licence applications require submission 21 days prior to the performance to comply with statutory guidance. Applications received with less notice may not be issued in time for the performance.
The National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) can offer further guidance and information.
You cannot currently apply online for a child performance licence.