Somerset

Children dancing in lunch break hit with prosecution threat

Loganwest's production of 'Crazy for You'
Image caption Under 16s can rehearse for five hours a day and must take a 90-minute lunch break, the council says

Child actors in Weston-super-Mare could face prosecution if they dance in their break, a theatre company has been told.

Loganwest, which runs a summer school for nine to 21 year olds, is putting on the musical Grease at the Playhouse.

Producer Emma Smith said: "They've told us that if the children dance on their lunch break then both the children and our chaperones could face prosecution."

A council spokeswoman said it had to ensure "children taking part in public performances are correctly cared for".

Loganwest Productions has been running "intensive" two-week workshops for children across Bristol, Bath and Somerset since 2000.

Now, according to Ms Smith, North Somerset Council is stipulating that under 16s can only rehearse for five hours a day and must take a 90-minute lunch break.

'Welfare of children'

"I wouldn't fancy doing a dance class for two and a half hours - and an hour and a half lunch break is a really, really long time and they'll start to get bored," she said.

"And, sadly, they've told us that if the children decide to dance on their lunch break then both the children and our chaperones could face prosecution.

"We've been running these projects for a long time and we should be structuring our day to get the best out of the children and not be forced to work to regulations that were created in the 1960s and which the other councils in the area aren't imposing."

A spokeswoman for North Somerset Council said the authority was "responsible for ensuring that children taking part in public performances are correctly cared for".

"This includes limits on the time they can spend rehearsing and performing and ensuring they are correctly supervised," she said.

"When considering the Loganwest production we felt that a licence was needed in order to ensure the welfare of children at all times."

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