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Child performance licence

If you're responsible for putting on a performance, find out if you need a licence, how to apply, what conditions you need to meet and how to appeal a licensing decision.

Do I need a licence?

You'll need a child performance licence if a child who's of compulsory school age wants to take part in a performance you're responsible for. A child is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they become 16 years of age.

You'll need a licence for each child of compulsory school age who's taking part in the performance.

Performances include theatre shows, paid sporting events, modelling, TV and film recordings, dance and drama shows and band or orchestra performances.

You won't need a performance licence if any of the follow apply:

  • The child won't be performing for more than 4 days in any period of 6 months.
  • It's a school performance or activity.
  • The performance is put on by an approved body AND the child won't receive any payment for their participation. Approved bodies can include drama societies, churches, scouts, guides and other youth organisations. Find out how to become an approved body

Who can apply?

The person responsible for the production of the performance or activity should apply for the child performance licence.

The child or the child's parent shouldn't apply unless they're responsible for the production.

You can only apply for a child performance licence for a child who lives in Rochdale borough. If they live outside of the borough, you'll need to apply for a licence to the council where they live.

How to apply

To apply for a FREE child performance licence:

  1. Download and complete the child performance licence application form below.
  2. Email the completed form to us at at least 21 days before you need the licence.
  3. When you email, you should also include a copy of the birth certificate of the child and a passport sized photograph of the child.
  4. We'll aim to get in touch within 10 working days to let you know any next steps.

Child performance licence application form (289kb pdf)

What conditions do I need to meet?

Before we'll give you a child performance licence, you'll need to show us:

  • What actions you're taking to ensure the safety of the child in the performance, including any potential physical, emotional or psychological risks.
  • The child's education won't be affected by the performance and demonstrate what actions you're taking to ensure this, if necessary.

You can tell us about these conditions and any actions you're taking on the application form.

We may refuse to give you a child performance licence if we believe the performance will damage a child's health, care or education.

Is my application granted if I don't hear back?

No. We must process your application before it can be granted as tacit consent doesn't apply.

How long will my licence last?

Your child performance licence will last only for the performances listed on your application form, unless we tell you otherwise.

How do I appeal a licence decision?

You can get in touch with us using the contact details on this page if you want to know more about why we refused your application and what actions you can take before re-applying.

If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal to your local magistrates' court.

Fines and penalties

If a child performs in a production you're responsible for when you don't have a licence, you could face a fine of up to £1,000. You could also be sentenced to up to 3 months in prison.


01706 925115

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.45pm.