Gosport's Planet Ice Christmas Show: Children "in tears" after being told they could not perform

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Child performers were left ‘in tears’ after being stopped from taking part in Gosport’s Planet Ice Christmas shows at the last minute due to a licensing issue.

Three shows of The Wizard of Oz were set to take place on Wednesday, November 29 with a mix of professional performers and amateurs from the venues learn to skate programme. However, on the morning of the performances, the majority of them were told they did not have the required child performance licence issued by Hampshire County Council to perform.

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The child performance licence is generally required for children under school leaving age in order for them to take part in public appearances. The licences for the show were being arranged by Planet Ice who requested the appropriate information from the children’s parents and guardians. One parent, who did not want to be named, told The News that this had been done weeks in advance and that on the day children were “left in tears”.

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Children were stopped from performing at Planet Ice Gosport at the last moment due to a licencing issueChildren were stopped from performing at Planet Ice Gosport at the last moment due to a licencing issue
Children were stopped from performing at Planet Ice Gosport at the last moment due to a licencing issue

Another parent said: “The children were told not to move and they had to sit in their costumes, cold, and very upset having been told they can't perform. The Planet Ice manager and two council representatives told us they were not sure what happened but the children without licences could not go on. One of the parents sent the information of both her children in one email but only one of them got a licence.”

The two daytime shows went ahead despite many of the children being unable to perform, and with family members having already bought tickets in advance to watch them. The venue’s promotional material for the event stated the show would be giving the skaters “a real moment to remember under the spotlight.” For many that was not the case and parents are now requesting a refund.

Planet Ice refused to comment on the issue, however a spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “While I empathise with the families whose children were unable to perform at a show at Planet Ice in Gosport this week, it is critical that the correct checks are undertaken in advance to ensure the security and safety of young performers at all times. Performance licences are a legal requirement for all children who take part in public performance activities. The Local Authority is responsible for issuing these and does so in line with strict national guidance.

“The Authority makes clear that Licence applications must be completed in full and allow 21 working days for the necessary documentation to be assessed. If licences are requested at shorter notice, we will endeavour to process the applications in less time. Despite having only received applications on Monday 27 November, our team worked tirelessly and were able to process all fully completed applications in time for the performance two days later on Wednesday. Licences would not be granted in circumstances where applications have not been fully or sufficiently completed.

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“While licensed to perform, children must be in the care of a chaperone – the chaperones employed at the venue have carried out their duty, fully adhering to all legal requirements.”

The children were able to perform in the evening show.