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Children's licensing for amateur performances


Lemongirl
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This isn't strictly about ballet but I thought I would get some good advice from you knowledgable lot!

 

Dd loves drama and has just auditioned succesfully for a part in Oliver with a local amateur company. They originally said they were going to double cast the children but they didn't have enough so all the children cast will be expected to appear in all 6 performances, Tuesday - Friday evening and 2 on Saturday.

 

I have since found out that children appearing in amateur shows (ie not being paid) do not have the same protection as professional performers. For example children appearing in West End shows only do a few shows per week and not on consecutive nights, there are really strict rules in place to protect the children. It seems that amateur companies don't have to adhere to the rules and can basically do what they like with regard to number of performances.

 

Older dd has done EYB quite a few time but I think they look after the children very well - only 3 performances at the weekend and school absence is kept to a minimum.

 

I personally feel that doing a run of shows is too much for young children especially during term time when they are expected to be at school during normal hours.

 

My dd hasn't done LCB but I think they also do a lot of performances. How do the children cope with it? I know they probably all run on adrenaline but it just strikes me as not quite right if professional performances are so strict for good reason.

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I'm a bit of an expert on this but am in the middle of something so will post later but the laws apply to all & the protection applies to all.

 

The main difference is amateur is usually one week one off run whereas pro west end a child may be in the show for several weeks/months hence only bring able to do do many per week.

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The regulations state that the maximum number of days a child can take part in a performance (including dress/tech rehearsals) per week is 6 days. This is the same for professional or amateur

 

However if it is amateur a full licence is needed (rather than an exemption) if the child has performed more than four days in 6 months

 

For a child under 12 they are allowed to be there up til 10pm, over 12 is 10.30pm. However if the show goes on later than that they can be there until 11pm but only for three evenings a week with a maximum of 8 evenings in four consecutive weeks

 

So this is one of the occasions when more than one child/team is needed

 

Also most amateur shows have one Saturday matinee whereas professional shows have a midweek matinee as well. In this instance a local authority has the right to say we'd think it's too much for one child, you need two teams.

 

I thought there was a clause about rest days for runs lasting longer than a certain number of weeks too but I can't find it

 

Most amateur shows I know of run Tuesday- Saturday & most children seem to cope fine with it. It is up to each individual patent to decide whether there child can cope with such a schedule & whether to allow them to take part in a production.

 

My own daughter was 6 when she took part in her first dance school show & although the pre primaries were allowed to go home in the interval she chose 3 nights out if 4 to stay for the finale. Two years later at she. 8 she did a run of 4 nights inc sat matinee no problem.

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For amateur shows I've been involved with (8 or 9 performances in the week plus tech & dress) the children were double cast & did alternate performances. They had to have licences from their local council but more recently I think (laws changed) just permission from school if they had to miss any (matinees & leaving early). Most schools very supportive (as it was only a week) & valued the whole experience. A few children managed to take a bit more time off than they needed to! All of them coped fine with it, had a great experience even in Oliver where there were one or two 5 year olds once! Chaperoning & child protection was very strictly adhered to though.

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Was it 6 performances over four days? Eg two matinees?

Yes, it was I think.

 

Edited to add: if it had been during term-time she would probably have had to have a license in order to get the time off school for the weekday matinee.

 

Some councils seem to be far more strict than others, having talked to various other parents when dd's done EYB.

Edited by taxi4ballet
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