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Licenses for performances with children

This guide covers licenses for performances outwith the One Act Festival. View all documentation about the One Act Festival.

A licence is required for the following:

  • all performances for which a charge is made, whether for admission or otherwise
  • all performances held in licensed premises, for example a hotel, pub or theatre
  • all performances which are broadcast live, for example a television or radio broadcast or internet screening
  • all performances recorded with a view to their use in a broadcast or in a film intended for public exhibition
  • modelling or sporting activities where payment, other than for expenses, is made to the child or someone else in respect of the child’s participation
  • Amateur groups, musical performances, student productions and films are not exempt from the requirements.

Where no payment (except for expenses) is made to the child or another person in connection with a performance, a licence is not required in respect of the following:

  • auditions
  • school productions
  • performances where the child has not taken part in a licensable performance on more than 3 other days in the last 6 months (sometimes known as “the 4 day rule”)
  • It is a legal requirement to get a licence and failure to do so is an offence. It is also an offence for a parent or guardian to allow a child to take part in a licensable performance without a licence. The person responsible for obtaining a licence and/or the parent or guardian may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.
  • You may find that a ‘Body of Persons Approval’ is more appropriate than individual licenses

Body of Persons Approval

In some circumstances a Body of Persons Approval ( BOPA) can be granted by a local authority, a group of local authorities or by Scottish Government to an organisation, removing the need for individual child performance licences to be obtained for a performance. The BOPA may cover a single performance or a series of performances. BOPAs cannot be granted for performances where children are being paid (other than expenses). If a BOPA has been granted, conditions such as those around working hour limits, chaperones and education do not apply. However the granter may choose to attach conditions to the BOPAto ensure the wellbeing of the children covered by it.

The applicant will still require to supply full details of the production, the children involved, arrangements for chaperones, travel, child protection policies and training of staff and the approval of any school absence from the child’s Head Teacher.

Each Local Authority has set up a system

You can download ‘Young performers: a guide for parents and guardians’ from