Child performers are protected by a series of legislation, in particular The Children (Performances and Activities) Regulations 2014, which came into force on the 6th February 2015.

The following types of performance will require a child to have either a licence or an exemption:

  • Theatre
  • Modelling (photographic & catwalk)
  • TV/Film
  • Dance school shows
  • Band/orchestra performances (non-educational establishment)

A full copy of the Performance Regulations can be found here:

Further guidance and examples of best practice can be found on the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) website:

A performance licence is issued by the Local Authority where the child lives. For children who live outside of the UK but come here to perform, licences should be issued by the Local Authority where the applicant lives or has a business address, or alternatively by the Local Authority where the first performance is scheduled to take place.

Performance Licence Applications

In order to apply for a Performance Licence the following documents must be completed and returned to the Licensing Officer at least 21 days before the first performance.

These documents must be returned to the Licensing Officer together with:

  • A photocopy of the child’s birth certificate or passport
  • 2 passport sized photographs of the child, taken in the last 6 months

Applications can be submitted within the 21 days in certain circumstances.

Please contact the Licensing Officer for further information.

Performance Licences

The licence will show the child’s name, DOB, parents name, performance type, times, location and applicant details. It will also show any conditions which may be placed on the licence such as education, lodgings and travel arrangements.

The licence, when issued, will be sent to the Applicant, the child’s parent, the child’s agent and also to the Local Authority where the performance is to take place.

There are certain circumstances when a licence may not be required, and where an exemption may be more appropriate. The most common of these is when the child has not taken part in more than 3 days of performance in the last 6 months. The Licensing Officer would need to be consulted to ensure the child’s performance records are up to date and if the child has licence-free days to use then an exemption would be issued.

Another exemption which may be issued is a Body of Persons Approval.

This is an approval which is issued to an organisation using a number of children in a performance. 

However, there are a number of criteria which must be met, such as the child (or anyone else) cannot be paid for their part in the performance and the child must not require any time off school in order to perform. BOPA are most commonly issued to dance schools and amateur dramatic performances.

A BOPA is issued by the Local Authority where the performance is taking place, rather than where the children live. The approval would list all the young performers.

For further information about BOPA please contact the Licensing Officer.

Performance Times & Breaks

All performances are now covered by the same restrictions in terms of times of performance, breaks, education requirement, number of consecutive days. However, these do vary depending on the age of the child.

For full details, please see the Performance Times/Breaks table:


The Licensing Officer is responsible for approving individuals as chaperones to accompany children who perform or take part in licensable activities.

In order to apply for a Chaperone Approval/Licence the Licensing Officer will need to undertake a number of checks, which include a DBS Check, a Social Care Records check, two references and undertake an interview with all applicants.

There is an administrative charge for this service, and there may be a charge for the DBS check.

Applications for a Chaperone Approval/Licence can take approximately 6 to 8 weeks due to the checks which must be undertaken.  Once issued the approval/licence is valid for 3 years. After this time a new application must be made in order to renew the approval.


If you wish to request an application pack or would like further information please contact The Licensing Officer.

Child Employment & Entertainment Licensing Officer
Safeguarding Children
The Rock Street Centre
Rock Street
Oldham, OL1 3UJ

Tel: 0161 770 6627