Shakespeare drama filming in Wales

WillAmerican TV drama Will is filming on location in Wales and will tell a fictionalised account of the life of the young William Shakespeare.

Producers are expected to channel nearly £20m into the local economy over the course of a nine-month shoot. The series is the highest-spending production ever to shoot in Wales.

Filming is based at Dragon Studios, a facility 30 miles west of Cardiff that offers four stages and a five-acre back lot.

A Shakespearean theatre has been built at the studio and 16th century London streets erected on the back lot. 

Alison Owen, the series’ executive producer, said: “Filming at Dragon Studios has provided many advantages for the production - using Dragon's four stages and its extensive backlot, we have been able to create a whole world in one place. 

“The streets of Shakespeare's London spread out on the backlot, whilst the huge theatre takes up one whole stage [and] additional interior sets complete the show's universe. Other breathtaking exterior locations are a stone's throw away, giving scope and breadth to the show's visual landscape.”

Wales was chosen because of the proximity of suitable filming locations combined with strong crew bases in Swansea and Cardiff, Owen added. The fact that London is only a few hours away was also an attractive proposition.     

Ken Skates, Wales’ economy cabinet secretary, said: “It gives us a platform, not just in the US but globally, to promote Wales as a great location for filming which is backed by real expertise and talent.

“It will provide a great opportunity for Welsh companies and freelancers while helping to expand the supply chain and increasing and up-skilling the crew base in Wales.”

The Bastard Executioner was previously filmed at Dragon Studios but was cancelled after only one season. Da Vinci’s Demons was a greater success for Wales, running for three seasons with a production base at Bay Studios in Swansea.

Bad Wolf, a production company set up by former BBC producers Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, is also planning a Wales shoot for a major TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy saga His Dark Materials.

Most of the filming will take place in a studio setting and Bad Wolf is reportedly considering setting up a major new facility to accommodate the shoot.

Image: TNT


Also on The Knowledge

Spotlight on Wales

Wales has a long-established reputation as a film-friendly production hub, with hig-profile inward investment projects such as Brave New World among the recent high-profile projects to have filmed there.     

Read More »