North East Connected

Plans to develop Northern region as a major film and TV production hub lanuched by leading art school

A leading northern art school has announced plans to boost film and TV production in the north east and create a major industry hub for the region with the development of a commercial sound stage to attract national and international productions to the area.

Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD), based on Church Road in Hartlepool, is working closely with Hartlepool Borough Council to develop a 5,000 sq. metre purpose-built dedicated film and TV sound stage studios, one of the largest film studios outside London.

The college, which has strong links with the film and TV industry and illustrious alumni including Hollywood director Sir Ridley Scott, has submitted plans to develop the sound stage by repurposing the former bus depot on Lynn Street in Hartlepool.

The proposal forms part of the wider expansion of the specialist art college, with its £11m new teaching and learning studios opening this year the coastal town – next door to the proposed sound stage. CCAD is keen to build on its strengths and track record in the TV and production industry with its industry-led curriculum featuring specialist degree courses such as costume, production design and creative film and moving image – to create a film and TV hub for the wider region and across the UK.

Following extensive research and consultation with industry professionals, the college has established there are no dedicated sound stages on such a large scale in the north and therefore a real demand for such a facility from an industry that regularly films on location in the town.

Pat Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations at CCAD, said: “In order to develop the proposal, we have not just conducted our own research, we have looked at the sector and liaised closely with industry organisations such as Northern Film and Media. We have also had a number of site visits with art directors, production managers and producers to ask them what they want from a sound stage.

“We are keen to further develop our support for the industry in terms of backstage crew so this project is the college directly responding to industry demands. There is currently no similar dedicated facility north of the M62 corridor in the same scale and very little outside of the south of England, that is on a comparable scale. There is a real need to provide a supply of skilled and trained crew and encourage them to stay in the region, so our role is providing the skilled people. This we feel will help anchor productions within the north east region and would bring direct economic benefits to the town.”

The former vehicle depot site will include two sound stages around 20m by 50m plus workshop space of a similar size. The tall building, which is now empty, features wide open spaces for set construction, is ideal for a sound stage with a lattice roof which will easily allow the hanging of lighting rigs and other equipment.

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