A performance licence outlines the arrangements in place for a child to take part in a performance. The licence is needed before the performance takes place. An adult responsible for the production, such as a producer, must apply for licence. The licence must be held on set in case of an inspection.

The legislation around performance licences is the Children and Young Persons Act.

Who needs a performance licence

Children from birth to 16 years need a performance licence if they:

  • perform on television
  • perform in film
  • perform on stage
  • perform in commercial work
  • work as models
  • take part in paid or professional sport

This means up to the last Friday in June of the school year in which they are 16 and leaving year 11.

In some cases a child performance licence may not be needed. We will consider an exemption when the child:

  • has not performed for more than 4 days in the previous 6 months
  • isn't getting paid
  • doesn't need to take time off school
Exemptions don't currently require licensed chaperones but we would expect the adults used as chaperones to be enhanced DBS checked as best practice.

Body of Persons Approval Licence (BOPA) may be issued in exceptional circumstances:

  • the child must not have performed for 4 days or more in the last 6 months
  • the child must not require a school absence for the performance
  • the child is not being paid for the performance
  • the performance is not being broadcast

We now require licensed chaperones for BOPA licenced performances. 

Contact the Children's Services Licensing Team if you believe your performance meets the criteria for a BOPA licence. 

Before you start

You will need:

  • a passport sized photo
  • a copy of the child's birth certificate or valid passport
  • a letter from the school authorising time off school, if needed
  • a copy of the child protection policy or safeguarding policy
  • a copy of the risk assessment for the child's activities

You will need a medical certificate, valid for 6 months from date of issue, if a child is taking part in a:

  • broadcast performance (TV or radio) that lasts more than a week and the child performs on 6 days during that week (5 days for sound broadcasting)
  • sporting activity or modelling

Apply for a child performance licence

Complete the child performance and activities licence application form.

Or apply for an exemption

Complete the exemption form and return it to us:

Processing time

We aim to process any performance or exemption licence applications within 28 working days after we've received the form. We can't guarantee this deadline, especially during busy periods like Easter, November and Christmas.

Read our Dorset Council child performance licensing policy

Chaperone licences

All children engaged in a public performance or entertainment under a performance licence must legally be supervised by a licensed chaperone or their parent.

Find out more about chaperone licences.

Children's Services Licensing Team: child performances

Email: childperformances@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305224143
Full contact details

Read our child performance licence privacy notice to find out how we use your application information.

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