A mobile nursery based in a bus aimed at supporting parents working in the performing arts will launch next year, which its founders hope will become a service taken up by the theatre sector.
WonderWorks is described as a “fully equipped and professionally run” nursery, which is able to move around according to the requirements of its users.
It has been jointly founded by businessman Mark Radcliffe and actor Charlotte Riley. Although initially aimed at parents and carers working in film and television, it is hoped the service will also be used by those in theatre.
Radcliffe told The Stage he could imagine the nursery being based at a central London location, with performers and theatre employees working across a number of shows able to jointly use the facility.
“We are Ofsted-governed and because we are space-limited, and don’t have hundreds of children we can spread that cost over, it is relatively expensive per head… So we would need decision makers on various productions to buy into it,” he said.
Radcliffe said the nursery would feature a full educational programme, and stressed it was not a creche.
“A creche can only be used for a couple of hours, but we will be available throughout the day,” he added.
He said he hoped it would be the first of many offerings to families and said his aim was to see mobile nurseries available for productions across the UK.
The scheme has been welcomed by campaign group Parents and Carers in Performing Arts.
Co-founder Cassie Raine said: “The challenges finding childcare for the performing arts workforce are as multifaceted and complex as our working hours. Any initiative that provides accessible, affordable and flexible support for families that can meet the irregular working patterns of our sector is a welcome step.”
She added: “PiPA partners have been providing pop-up creches at events and we are currently trialling a UK-wide scheme for ad-hoc child and elder care provision. A mobile nursery could be a great solution for touring, working in remote locations or where space is limited.”