Children taking part in performances is governed by the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (sections 37 and 39) and The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.
This legislation applies to all children from birth until they leave school. A licence must be obtained from the local authority where the child lives if the performance meets ANY ONE of the following criteria:
- an admission or other charge is made for the performance
- the performance is taking place on premises licensed for the sale or supply of alcohol
- the performance is being broadcast, or recorded with a view to its use in a broadcast or in a film intended for public exhibition
- the child is taking part in paid sport or paid modelling.
The applicant for the licence should be the person responsible for the production of the performance (e.g. theatre show) in which the child is taking part; or the person responsible for organising, or engaging the child in, the activity (e.g. paid modelling).
As the licence holder, that person will be responsible for observing the restrictions and conditions subject to which the licence is granted.
Download: Application Form
Exemption from the Licensing Procedures
A child taking part in a performance to which the legislation applies may be granted an exemption from the licensing procedures if the following conditions are met:
- by taking part the child will not have performed on more than 4 days in the 6 months leading up to and including the last date of performance for which the current application is being made (this includes performances for other organisations in the relevant period, but not school productions); AND
- no school absence is required for the child to take part in the performance; AND
- no payment, except for defraying expenses, is made to the child or any other person in respect of the child's participation.
Alternatively,an exemption may be granted if the performance is arranged by an organisation which has been given Body of Persons approval by the Secretary of State or the local authority in whose area the performance is taking place, subject to conditions (2) and (3) above also being met.
In order to keep a record of the children participating (who may then require a licence for future performances), and because many of the same regulations apply to performances for which a licence is not required, we request an application in these circumstances from the person responsible for the production of the performance.
Download: Exemption application form
A child who has been licensed to take part in a performance has to be supervised at all times by either their own parent (legal guardian) or a local authority approved chaperone.
Please note that grandparents, aunts and uncles, child minders, etc. are NOT legal guardians (unless they are recognised as such by the courts) and therefore need to be approved by a local authority in order to act as the child's chaperone. A parent, unless they are an approved chaperone, cannot be responsible for children other than their own.
While it is good practice for children who have been granted an exemption from the licensing procedures to be supervised by a local authority approved chaperone, this is not a requirement in law. However, the employment of any adult, if not the child's own parent, to supervise children in such circumstances should comply with the Disclosure and Barring Service guidance on the checks that are required for adults working with children in a "regulated activity".
Those living in Worcestershire who are interested in becoming an approved chaperone can contact the Child Employment and Entertainment Licensing Officer for information about the registration process.