Children in entertainment

If a child of school age or below is involved in performances, they must be licensed and properly chaperoned.

Find out more about child employment or read the government guidance on child performance and activities licensing legislation.

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

  • it takes place on licensed 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 licensed. This does not include dance schools.

Read about new regulations for children in entertainment.

Children should not take part in performances or rehearsals:

  • on more than 6 consecutive days
  • for more than 8 consecutive weeks without an interval of 2 weeks
  • more than once a day if attending school that day
  • without an interval of 1 hour 30 minutes between 2 performances on the same day
  • without an interval of 12 hours between the end of an evening performance and the start of the following day.

Times and hours for children aged 9+

The child must not be at the premises:

  • for more than 9 hours 30 minutes in 1 day (including tuition)
  • before 7am at the earliest
  • after 11pm at the latest.

While the child is at the performance premises they:

  • can perform for a maximum of 2 hours 30 minutes at a time and 5 hours in total
  • must have at least 2 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 15 minutes for a break) if they are at the premises for 4 hours or more
  • must have at least 3 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 2 15 minute breaks) if they are at the premises for 8 hours or more.

Times and hours for children aged 5 - 8

The child must not be at the premises:

  • for more than 8 hours in 1 day (including tuition)
  • before 7am at the earliest
  • after 11pm at the latest.

While the child is at the performance premises they:

  • can perform for a maximum of 2 hours 30 minutes at a time and 3 hours in total
  • must have at least 2 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 15 minutes for a break) if they are at the premises for more than 4 hours.
  • must have at least 3 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 2 15 minute breaks) if they are at the premises for 8 hours or more.

Times and hours for children 0 - 4

The child must not be at the premises:

  • for more than 5 hours in 1 day (including tuition)
  • before 7am at the earliest
  • after 10pm at the latest.

While the child is at the performance premises they:

  • can perform for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time and 2 hours in total
  • must have at least 2 breaks (1 hour for a meal and 15 minutes for a break) if they are at the premises for more than 4 hours.

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Contact us

If you have any questions or need advice contact our Child Employment and Entertaintment Officer, Emma Hunter and Rachel Parkhouse by emailing childemploymentandentertainment@kent.gov.uk.