Bray Film Studios has announced an expansion of its studio space, including state-of-the-art facilities and 3,000 new jobs.
Having received permission from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council, the plans include nine sound stages, workshops, production support facilities and the permanent retention of a rehearsal building.
The announcement follows significant investment for the company, including refurbishment of the existing sound stages and the provision of new stages, associated workshops and production support buildings. The owners have also begun restoring an 18th-century grade II listed English country house at Down Place, formerly the home of the studios before falling into disrepair.
The plans are the latest in a string of new studio and expansion announcements in the UK as the industry aims to plug the shortfall in production space caused by increased demand for stages and facilities. Bray Film Studios said the scheme positions them to attract film and television programmes from the UK and US majors, alongside new SVoD players looking for skilled crew, world-class studio facilities and competitive UK tax breaks.
The planned expansion is also expected to boost to the economy of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, with £1 billion production spend over the next decade, as well as increased permanent benefit to local businesses through the use of local suppliers and hospitality. The expansion will generate around 1,500 jobs on- and off-site and a similar number of indirect jobs through the supply chain, according to the company.
The studios were established in 1951 as the original home of Hammer Films and housed the production of The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy, in addition to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the model work of Ridley Scott’s Alien. More recently, Bray Film Studios hosted production on The King’s Man, Rocketman and Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again.
“To see the revival and continued expansion of a studio as iconic as Bray Film Studios is hugely positive for the UK screen industries,” said Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission. “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, added: “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.”