Children in entertainment

A child performance licence must be obtained if a child under compulsory school leaving age performs in either:

  • Theatre – where a charge is made
  • Modelling and sport – where the child or any other person is paid (this is not an admission charge but a ‘wage’)
  • Licensed premises.


A child does not require a performance licence when:

  • The child is required to perform for one day and in the 6 months preceding that performance the child has not exceeded the 3 day unlicensed exemption period (a child can possibly perform for 4 days in a 6 month period without the need for a licence);
  • and they do not require time off school (paid or unpaid);
  • or the performance is under arrangements made with school or a Body of Persons (Body of Persons exemptions can be granted by a local education authority or secretary of state if certain criteria are met);
  • and no payment is made to the child or any other person, except for defraying expenses.
Exemption Declaration (DOC, 68 KB)


The licence applicant is the person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part. This does not include the proprietor of a drama or dancing school or other person (such as an agent) who provides children for a production but does not themselves present it. The holder of the licence is the person who is responsible for observing the restrictions and conditions subject to which the licence is granted.

Sporting activity or modelling

The licence applicant is the person responsible for the organisation of the sporting event or the person who proposes to engage the child as a model.

Performance licence application form

You can apply for a child performance licence please download, complete, and return to the address in the right-hand bar.

Child performance licence application form (DOC, 169.5 KB)
The application form should be returned at least 21 days before the start of the first performance. Use this word file to complete the application on your computer, then print and return to us. Unfortunately we do not have on-line applications currently.

If a child is to be absent from school a letter authorising the absence should be submitted with the application form to avoid any delays.

The local authority may refuse to issue a licence if the performance is believed to be detrimental to the health, care and/or education of the child. The local authority may acquire additional information from the applicant before a licence is issued and in some cases the local authority may also revoke previously issued licences (licences which are currently running) if there are concerns about the welfare of the particular child named in the application.

For further information on licences –


Children must be in the care of either their parent (the child’s legal guardian) or an approved chaperone at all times. Note: grandparents, uncles, childminders etc. are NOT legal guardians (unless they are recognised as such by the courts) and therefore need to be approved in order be the chaperone. Parents, unless they are approved chaperone, cannot be responsible for children other than their own. The chaperone licence is valid for 3 years. The chaperone approval/renewal cost is £25.

Download, print and complete either the Chaperone Application form or the Chaperone Renewal Form and contact our office to arrange to undertake a DBS check. An interview will be required for all new chaperones.

For further information on chaperones –

Inspections – powers of entry

An authorised officer of the local authority or police officer may under a magistrate’s warrant enter any place where there is reasonable cause to believe that employment is taking place or a person is believed to be taking part in a performance or being trained for dangerous performances contrary to the provisions of the Act and make enquiries about that person.

An authorised officer of the local authority or a police officer may also –

Without a warrant, at any time enter any place used as a broadcasting studio or film studio or used for the recording of a performance with a view to its use in a broadcast or in a film intended for public exhibition, and make enquiries about any children taking part in performances.

At any time during the currency of any licence granted under S.37 or relating to training for dangerous performances enter any premises where the performance or training is authorised to take place, and make enquiries about the person to whom the licence relates.

The licence holder (applicant) must hold individual licences for each child in their care at the place of performance. An inspecting local authority officer will wish to check each child’s licence together with their record sheets, which should details things as: arrival/departure/tutoring and performing times throughout the production for which the licence was issued. Inspectors may also want to talk to the children, matrons, parents and the applicant.


Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (sections 23 to 30) & 1963 (sections 37 to 44).
The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.

Children Performing Abroad

A performance licence will still be required, but these are issued by your local Magistrates Court.

For further information contact your local Magistrates Court. Birmingham Magistrates Court details are 0121 212 6609 and ask the question about performing abroad when you call them.

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Children in entertainment was last updated on July 31, 2018.