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Western Education & Library Board,
1 Hospital Road,
Omagh, Co Tyrone,
BT79 0AW

Telephone: 028 8241 1411
Fax: 028 8241 1400
Email: info@welbni.org
Textphone: 028 8241 1550

Licences for Children Who Perform

Licences for Children Who Perform

There is legislation in place in Northern Ireland to safeguard children who are involved in entertainment, i.e. performing on stage (music, song, drama, dance), television, film, radio or in commercials.  The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, Part X11, articles 137-145 & Children (Public Performances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996], require that all children from babies until they cease to be of compulsory school age, are either licensed or regarded as exempt from a licence by the Education Authority in whose region they live in order to take part in a performance on stage or for broadcast.

What kind of performances require a licence?

Any performance:

  • in connection with which a charge is made (whether for admission or otherwise)

  • at a licenced premises or a registered club

  • any performance broadcast to the public

  • any performance recorded by whatever means with a view to its use in a broadcast or film intended for public exhibition

What kind of performance doe not need a licence?


  • the child has not taken part in performances in the previous six months on more than 3 days

  • the performance is given under arrangements made by a school or made by a body of persons approved by the Department of Education or the Education Authority in whose region the performance takes place and no payment in respect of the child's taking part in the performance is made, whether to the child or any other person except for defraying expenses

  • any activity that the Education Authority does not consider is a performance for example, filming a child involved in ordinary activities, e.g. school lessons and the activity is not directed such that it might be considered a performance

Production companies or organisations intending to involve children in broadcast or non-broadcast performances as described earlier should contact the EAWR Child Protection Support Service for Schools (CPSSS) to establish if a performance licence is required or if an exemption can be applied under Article 137 (3)(a) or (3)(b) of The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. 

Where it appears an exemption applies and a licence is not required the person responsible for the production will be asked to submit a pro-forma providing details of the proposed performance(s) and the children involved.  If satisfied a Designated Officer for Child Protection will issue an exemption letter.  Although a licence is not required the person responsible for the performance will be required to observe certain of the Regulations for example, time and hours of performance, rest or meals of children taking part in the performance.

Where a performance licence is required a performance licence application form must be completed accompanied by:

  • Written consent from the parent/care (Part 2 of the application form)

  • Written consent from the Principal of the school attended by the child if the performance/s will necessitate absence from school

  • 2 passport sized photographs of the child

  • Proof of age of the child, e.g. copy of birth certificate

A Designated Officer for Child Protection will determine if all the legal and regulatory requirements are met and if any additional conditions should be prescribed on the licence.  When satisfied a performance licence will be issued to the person responsible for the performance.  A copy of the licence will also be issued to the child's parents/carers.  If it is decided not to issue a licence then it will be unlawful for the child to take part in the proposed performance.

Information concerning the legal requirements as well as performance licence application forms are available from the CPSSS - Tel:  028 8241 1480 or by clicking on the links below:

Children (NI) Order 1995 Articles 137-148
Children (Public Performances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996
Children in Entertainment - Broadcast Performance table
Children in Entertainment - Non-Broadcast Performance table
Performance Licence Application Form