The Northern School of Art is one step closer to realising its vision of establishing a major film and TV production facility in the North East. A planning application has been submitted for ‘The Northern Studios’ – a new 30,000 sq. ft. film and television studio and production facility in Hartlepool, which, if approved, will be the only one of its kind in the region.
The exciting new development, if approved, will provide the North East with its first dedicated production facility capable of housing large scale film and TV production. The unique business model caters for commercial studio use, which will offer opportunities for business users to use highly specialised technical equipment for stage, screen and events production. It will also support specialist technical and skills training for undergraduates on a range of creative degree programmes available at The Northern School of Art.
Pat Chapman, Vice Principal – Employability and External Relations, at The Northern School of Art, said: “As the specialist provider of education and training for the creative industries in the region, we are delighted to have taken this important next step in bringing about a new chapter of ambition and regeneration for the North East. The Northern School of Art has a clear role in championing the growing creative sector in the region and taking positive steps to help it grow in value and employment.
“The Northern School of Art is a long established provider of degree programmes in the screen and stage industries, if approved, the development of the new studios will provide much-needed commercial studio space to accommodate the growing number of production and filming companies in the area as well as providing a focus for the local employment of our talented graduates.”
The plans for The Northern Studios include a flexible commercial sound stage for TV and features production, a green screen/smaller studio for visual/special effects and corporate filming as well as a training studio for students. The Studios will also incorporate large workshop spaces with industrial scale 3D scanning and printing facilities for set and prop construction for the screen, stage and events industries, offices, parking, storage and a café/visitor centre for use by commercial crew, visitors and school visits.
The planning application forms part of a wider plan which supports the development of a new ‘creative district’ – including ‘The BIS – Whitby Street Studios’ which will provide 28 serviced studios for a growing network of small to medium creative businesses when it opens in the spring. The BIS can support the new Studios and the wider regeneration of the area, by providing a base for production companies and related businesses.
Mr Chapman continued: “This is an exciting time for Hartlepool as we see investment in the regeneration and future of the town – this development can underpin not just local but regional growth and prosperity.
“We have so many reasons why we should seize this opportunity – a shortage of commercial studio space due to the massive growth in the UK screen industry which means that the UK is missing out on opportunities and an increase in location filming in the area for which we can provide a more efficient production base. All of this alongside a population of talented and skilled graduates with the technical and specialist skills required by the screen industries.
“In other parts of the UK we have seen how a studio facility becomes a focus for the establishment of new businesses – not just creative ones but suppliers and service companies.
“We have developed this project over a number of years, working with industry partners -alongside the development of our specialist courses – to ensure that the proposed equipment, space and facilities are fit for purpose. In doing so, we believe we have a project that has the potential to demonstrate how the creative industries can support talent and drive a new economic chapter of verve, energy and ambition for the area.”
The Northern Studios is a collaborative project working in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council, The School is very appreciative of the support and vision displayed by the Council in this collaboration.
The planning application will now be considered by members of the Hartlepool Borough Council.
The Northern School of Art is a leading provider of diploma and degree courses in a range of creative skills including acting, textiles, fashion, costume, digital design, graphic design, events, film, lighting, television, sound & theatre production, illustration, photography, visual effects, fine art and textiles.
The School’s extensive, dedicated, industry-standard specialist facilities provide students with every opportunity to excel in a creative and friendly community whilst training in the specialist technical skills they need for a successful career in the creative industries – with over 96% of students in employment or further education within six months of leaving (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2018, Office for Students).