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Children in Entertainment

You will need a licence if you want a child to perform on stage, in television, film or commercials or to work in professional sport or as a model. This applies to children from birth to compulsory school leaving age.

A licence is required if a performance meets the following criteria:

  • it takes place on licenced premises
  • is broadcast, filmed or recorded for public exhibition
  • a charge is made (even if there is no admission charge).

A licence is also required if the child:

  • performs for more than 3 days in 6 months
  • is being paid
  • requires time off from school.

It is illegal for the child to perform without a licence.

Performances arranged by schools that take place in the school do not need to be licenced. This does not include dance schools.

How to apply for a Performance Licence

If a child is being paid to perform and/or is missing school they need a Performance Licence. The person responsible for the performance and the parent should both complete and sign an application form:

You will also need to provide:

  • proof of the child's date of birth (copy of birth certificate or passport)
  • two photographs of the child taken within the last 6 months
  • a copy of the contract (if issued)
  • a letter giving permission for absence from school (if applicable) 

Email completed forms and accompanying information to:

Please send applications collated with all information in one email.

A licence will not be granted unless the council is satisfied that the child is

  • fit to take part in a performance
  • that their education will not suffer
  • and that proper supervision has been made to secure their health, comfort and kind treatment

Performances that do not need a licence (‘4 day-rule’)

In certain circumstances an exemption from the licencing process may be possible. Where a child has not performed on more than four days, including this performance, in the last 6 months and is not being paid or missing school, the performance may be exempt.

Under these circumstances, you should notify Cornwall Council. The person responsible for the production should complete the following form and email it at least 28 days before the performance takes place to

Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

In certain circumstances Cornwall Council may consider issuing a Body of Persons Approval to an organisation for performances involving children. This type of exemption may be appropriate providing no payment is being made to the child (or to anyone else), the child will not be absent from school to take part and the performance is taking place within Cornwall Council boundaries. This approval may be sought when the above ‘4 day rule’ does not apply to all children performing.

Email completed forms, contracts and the groups Safeguarding and/or Child Protection Policies to: giving at least 21 days' notice.

An approval will only be granted providing the above criteria are met and the council is satisfied the organisation has clear, robust and well embodied policies for safeguarding children. A meeting online or in person with the Juvenile Employment and Safeguarding Officer may be required before issuing a Body of Persons.

Chaperoning Children in Entertainment

A child must be chaperoned by their own parent or by a chaperone approved by a local authority.

Find out more about chaperoning children in entertainment and apply for a licence

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