Historic Bray Film Studios to expand
The historic Bray Film Studios are set to expand following planning approval that includes nine new sound stages.
The multi-million pound scheme will create nearly 3000 permanent jobs and generate an estimated £118m in annual production spend. As well as the stages, there will be workshops, production support facilities and the retention of a permanent rehearsal building.
Improvements on the heritage site had already been implemented, including the refurbishment of the existing sound stages and the provision of new stages, associated workshops, and production support buildings.
In addition to this investment, and the proposed expansion, the owners have undertaken the restoration of an 18th-century grade II listed English country house at Down Place (pictured, left), the historic heart of the studios, which over the years had fallen into a state of disrepair.
The studios were established in 1951 as the original home of Hammer Films, creating a cult genre of over 100 fantasy and horror films. Recent productions include The King’s Man, Rocketman, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again and the BBC’s ‘Dracula’.
It is estimated that more than £1 billion production spend could be realised over the next decade, much of which will be spent locally. The expansion will generate close to 1500 direct jobs both on and off-site and a similar number of indirect jobs through the supply chain. This will include up to 830 jobs in local employment and within the wider local economy.
Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission, said: “To see the revival and continued expansion of a studio as iconic as Bray Film Studios is hugely positive for the UK screen industries. It’s an exciting time for our sector.
“The demand for content is at an all-time high, significant stage space developments and expansions are in the pipeline across the UK, and innovative partnerships between public and commercial screen organisations are working to address the increasing demand for skills. This investment into Bray Film Studios is an important step in harnessing these opportunities, and will hugely help in continuing to attract major international production, investment, and employment to the UK.”
Linda Teare, director of Bray Film Studios, explained: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming film and high-end television productions back to Bray. With our investment to date, our location and film-making history spanning over 70 years, we’re in a great position to respond to the demand for studio space and support Britain’s creative industries. It’s wonderful to be reviving this historic studio and preserving a part of Britain’s rich film history.”
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