This week Monty Till, industry advisor for Patchway Studios, discussed our exciting expansion plans with leading industry news source The Knowledge.
Can you tell us about the history of your facility, the finance/investors behind it and when you opened fully for business?
Patchway Studios began life as a refrigeration warehouse – inherently dark, thick-walled and boasting a hefty power supply, it had the essential production space A-lister credentials, ready to be the star of its own show. We opened for business in May 2022, when SG Capital Partners provided space to a HETV show. Since then, adjustments have been made to ready the site for future productions looking to make the most of what the region around Bristol has to offer. In recent months, SG Capital Partners has appointed industry experts to its Advisory Board which demonstrates its commitment to further investment in this bustling corner of the UK.
Could you give us details of any of the productions you have hosted so far?
Most recently we hosted the HETV production ‘The Winter King’ for Bad Wolf / Sony Pictures, a large-scale 10-part adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles based on Arthurian legend. The show will be released this autumn (initially in the US and then on ITVx in the UK) and will proudly showcase the many locations featured across the South West and South Wales. It was a major operation which saw the team transform our vast space into a staggering Saxon world (both internally and externally on our backlot), thanks to Production Designer James North and his team.
What would you say are your studio’s standout offerings?
We could talk all day about the benefits productions enjoy when choosing Patchway Studios! But, if we were to identify three offerings, we’d say: location, plentiful flexible space and industry approval. Location because we’re just minutes away from the M4/M5 interchange, a super short drive away from Bristol Parkway Railway Station (connecting London-based teams to our facilities in just a 75min journey every half hour) and the breathtaking, diverse locations within a very easy reach. It is also perfectly placed to make the most of nearby, often award-winning hospitality provision – hotels, restaurants and bars. Space because we have 100k sq. ft. of production-ready flexible space, with more literally around the corner. Industry approval, because we’ve connected with many of the talented crew based locally and they’ve shared some solid feedback about what we have on offer to teams opting to call Patchway Studios home.
You recently announced expansion plans – can you explain more about those and the overall strategy of SG Capital Partners? How big is the expansion and over what period of time? Will it be in phases etc?
Patchway Studios is the first site in an international investment strategy for SG Capital Partners, with plans to expand to other sites in the UK and Europe. We are aiming to expand our operations in north Bristol to around 180,000 sqf of stage space and a similar amount of ancillary space to complement, over multiple phases during the next four years. This will drive fantastic job creation for the local industry and residents, which will help to deepen the skill base. We’re working on our plans with the local authorities responsible for economic development and industry organisations such as the British Film Commission.
You mentioned that you are consulting with three well-known UK HoDs about the plans. How important is their insight and experience, and can you give an example of the kind of insider knowledge they may bring to the development?
Having an advisory board made up of working industry professionals is invaluable to our operations at Patchway. Their insight and up-to-date experience of all things production enables us to ensure our offering is aligned with the expectations and needs of the production teams who come to us. We know which way the industry is leaning and are nimble and ready to address those requirements.
In addition, our industry experts aid us in balancing our commercial operations, systems and processes against the swift, sometimes immediate calls from the sector, as we understand the rationale behind some of those less conventional, more ‘film-centric’ requirements. One example of how their insider knowledge informs our developments (and ultimately best serves the industry in which we operate) would be when reviewing site layout options and the composition of differing spaces across a site and discussing ways to make operations more environmentally friendly. They can advise us on exactly how much space a costume designer might need or how many make-up articulated trailers would fit in a certain space, for example.