Sunday 26 March 2017

Ardmore studios opens new film facility

Major productions, including American TV series ‘The Tudors’ have been made at Ardmore
Major productions, including American TV series ‘The Tudors’ have been made at Ardmore

Paul O'Donoghue

The biggest film studio in the country, Ardmore, has opened up a new production facility just minutes away from its main operation in Co Wicklow.

Ardmore, based in Bray, employs around 500 people at any one time, and is worth in the region of €50m to the local area.

The new premises, dubbed 'the Ardmore Film Factory' has over 30,000 sq ft of studio space and 11,000 sq ft of office space distributed over two floors.

Ardmore currently has five sound stages comprising 40,000sq ft total in Bray, while there is also 100,000sq ft of support buildings including workshops, production offices, props stores, costume rooms, dressing rooms and hair and makeup rooms. The studio has recently played host to productions such as 'The Tudors', 'Moone Boy' and 'Penny Dreadful'.

A statement from the company said that the new centre will serve as both an extension to its existing Herbert Road location, and "as a standalone facility offering clients increased availability of studio and office space".

It added: "Since 2013, Ardmore has been operating to full capacity and a programme of investment has been in place with over €1.4m spent on redeveloping and enhancing the existing facilities. This investment programme and the addition of Ardmore Film Factory will ensure that Ardmore continues to attract world-class television and film productions."

It is not known if the new facility will result in new jobs at Ardmore.

A spokesman for Ardmore declined to comment when asked if the studio had any plans to open additional studio space in the near future.

Ardmore CEO Siún Ní Raghallaigh has recently cited a lack of studio space as an urgent problem for the Irish film industry, saying that her company has had to turn down productions due to a lack of studio space.

In total Ireland has 111,000sq ft of industry standard studio space and Ms Ní Raghallaigh suggests that an additional 100,000sq ft at least is urgently required in the Republic.

Ardmore is in discussions with Limerick council about opening up a major new film studio in the city, although there has been no news on talks in recent weeks.

A deal to develop a major film and television production hub in the old Dell building was expected to be announced shortly after the local authority announced that it had paid €5.5m to buy the former Dell factory in Limerick in May.

It was expected that an agreement would be quickly reached to lease the 350,000 sq ft premises to Ardmore to establish a new film base in the mid-west.

The former Dell plant is more than twice the size of Ardmore's existing facility.

Development of the Limerick studio could create an estimated 700 to 1,000 jobs over the long term.

However a spokesman for the council said that discussions in relation to the proposed studio are "progressing", but declined to give further detail.

Irish Independent

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