US film company to build £150 million studio in Shinfield

Blackhall Studios hope to open the new facility in 2022. Picture: Blackhall Studios

An American film company has announced its plans to build the largest purpose-built film studio and digital creative hub complex in the UK, in Shinfield.

Blackhall Studios hope to bring major Hollywood film productions to the UK and create up to 3,000 new jobs in Wokingham and Reading, including around 1,500 employed at the studio.

The site — owned by the University of Reading — would see the construction of a film studio complex and high-tech cinema. 

Built at the Thames Valley Science Park, Shinfield, the studios hope to generate a long-term partnership with the University of Reading.

The proposal is still subject to planning approval by Wokingham Borough Council, although they hope to open in 2022.

Ryan Millsap, Chairman and CEO of Blackhall, said: “We are excited to be establishing a base in the UK. Blackhall is the global standard for entertainment production space and our US-based clients like Disney, Universal and Sony are all asking us to expand into the UK to meet their desire to create productions here.

“They wouldn’t trust just anyone to meet their high standards, so we are delighted to serve them in this way.

“We are very excited about the prospect of investing in the UK creative industries as one of the most vibrant markets in the world.

“We hope that the site at Thames Valley Science Park will be the start of a series of investments in the UK which will see investment in jobs, training and the creative arts across a range of disciplines.

“The UK has a wealth of talent that our UK companies recognise and want to partner with for decades to come.”

Blackhall will combine its film studio management experience from its studios in the United States with the expertise of Nick Smith, previously of Pinewood-Shepperton plc, and now president and COO of Blackhall UK.

Mr Smith said: “Britain has an enviable array of filmmaking talent, but the industry is short of high-quality studio facilities capable of catering for the new and emerging technologies that will form the core of television and film production in the future.

“The proposals support the UK Government’s commitment to doubling the sector’s annual inward investment to £4 billion by 2025 and Blackhall is committed to play its part in making that vision a reality.

“This initial investment of £150 million into the UK economy will create a new powerhouse of creative production and educational achievement, as well as generating up to 3,000 new jobs.”

Blackhall Studios are also discussing how they may benefit students at the University of Reading. 

Sam Foley, chief financial officer of the University of Reading, said: “We are delighted to be talking to Blackhall Studios, whose proposals would build a whole creative hub at Thames Valley Science Park.  

“These proposals will boost the creative and cultural economy of our region.”

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