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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Children in Entertainment

This page is known as: www.birmingham.gov.uk/child-entertainment

Performances by children are governed by The Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963, and the Children (Performances) Regulations 1968.

These notes give general information only about the age of children in performance; licensing regulations and performance restrictions:

Please ensure applications are returned within 21 days before the start of the performance.

Children's Ages

A child aged 13 and over may be licensed for any type of performance / activity.

A child under 13 may only be licensed if:
  1. the licence is for acting;
  2. the licence is for dancing in a ballet or an entertainment which comprises only ballet or opera;
  3. the child's part is mainly musical or the performance in mainly musical or ballet / opera;
  4. the licence is for modelling or a sporting activity
Applications under (1) and (2) above must be accompanied by a declaration that the part cannot be taken except by someone of the child's age.


When is a licence needed?

  • When there is absence from school
    Absence from school will require authorisation from the Head Teacher to enable any pupil to undertake employment in accordance with a licence. Attendance at rehearsals or auditions that require absence from school can only take place within the currency of a licence.
  • When money changes hands from an audience, or in payment to the child or another person
  • When a child works more than 4 days in any 6 month period
  • When a child is employed in sporting activities and / or modelling work. Modelling work applies to such activities as:
    • Still photography sessions
    • Fashion shows / catwalk work

When is a licence not needed?

  • When no payment is being made to the child or another person other than defraying expenses
  • When there is no absence from school; and
  • in the 6 months proceeding the performance the child has not taken part in other performances on more than 3 days; or
  • the performance is given under the arrangements made by a school or made by a 'Body of Persons' approved by the Secretary of State or the Local Authority in whose area the performance takes place.

Please note written confirmation is required from the Licensing Authority. Please contact the Child Licensing Team to request an Exemption Request Form.

Who is the licensing authority?

Normally the Local Authority where the child lives. If the child lives outside Great Britain it is the Local Authority where the licence applicant lives or has business premises. If the child is at a boarding school it is the Local Authority where the school is.

Who applies for the licence / exemption?

The person responsible for the production in which the child will take part. Where "person" is a Corporate Body, the licence / exemption application is to be signed by the individual responsible for that part of the business. An application form for a licence is available below.

When must the licence / exemption application be made?

Fourteen days before the first date of performance.

Who is the licence / exemption holder?

The person who signs the licence / exemption application. The licence / exemption holder has responsibility for observing the restrictions of the licence / exemption.

What information has to be given about the number of days for which a licence is requested?

Actual dates or number of days over a period not exceeding 6 months for an Open Licence. The above can apply to an individual child, or a group of children for whom a block licence application is made.

How do rehearsals affect licences?

Rehearsals do not count towards the total number of days permitted but if absence is required from school this would need to be authorised by the headteacher.

What must accompany the licence application?

  • Two identical passport photos of the child;
  • The child's birth certificate;
  • A copy of the contract, or other documents if payment is being made to the child;
  • A declaration (when necessary) stating that the part cannot be undertaken except by a child of about his / her age.

What must the licence show?

  • The child's name (plus stage name if appropriate);
  • Nature of performance;
  • Place of performance;
  • Date(s) of performance(s)
  • Time(s) of performance(s)

Do you always need a registered Chaperone / Matron?

Yes. This is someone approved by the Licensing Authority to be in charge of the child throughout the period covered by the licence. Where the performance qualifies for an exemption the applicant can appoint a supervising adult to take on this role.

Download the application form below for a licence .

See the additional restrictions and regulations for those associated with children working in entertainment.

More information can be obtained from the Child Employment Team:

email: Child Employment Team

Tel: 0121 303 8900

If you need to see a member of the team a prior appointment is necessary.

Licensing Entertainment

If you wish to provide performances which take place in the presence of an audience for the entertainment of that audience with a view to profit, this is defined as “Regulated Entertainment” under the Licensing Act 2003. The Act states that persons and / or premises that conduct regulated entertainment will be required to obtain the relevant permission from the Council. You can find further information by viewing the Licensing Alcohol and Entertainment page.