Children’s Performing Licence

Children’s Performing Licence

 Procedures for Festivals involving Children

SCDA now has an updated Body of Persons Approval which applies to performances by children in the “Festival of One Act Plays” scheduled from February 2022 until June 2023

The legislation applies to children under the school leaving age.  In Scotland, children can leave school on 31 May if their 16th birthday falls between 1 March and 30 September of that year. Those who turn 16 between 1 October and the last day of February can leave at the start of the Christmas holidays of that particular school year.

However, SCDA wishes the same procedures to apply to young people over the school leaving age but under 18 as defined by our youth festival entry rules

All festivals organisers and clubs entering plays which involve children need to be conversant with the following and to comply fully with the outlined procedures.

GUIDELINES FOR CHAPERONES.  Must be implemented by teams at SCDA festivals

SCDA RISK ASSESSMENT CHILDREN AT FESTIVALS.docx  (to be completed by clubs before their appearance at the festival.  These will be collected by the festival CPO)


(District Festivals should forward this competed form to the Divisional Secretary who should check that all affected festivals have complied, including their own divisional festivals (open and youth).  The completed club risk assessments should be retained by the festival secretary. All forms should be retained for 1 year in case of any query.

Scottish Finals – forms will be passed to the National Secretary.)

The BOPA can be viewed here

Finally make sure you have read Getting it Right for Young People

Further info for clubs requiring a license for performances other than festivals.

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 guidance from here