Glasgow to create new £11.9m film and TV studio at historic Kelvin Hall

Scotland is to get a new film and TV studio in Glasgow's west end under an £11.9 million plan to transform part of the historic Kelvin Hall.

The Kelvin Hall, which will become home to the new 10,000 sq ft studio facility, dates back to 1927.
The Kelvin Hall, which will become home to the new 10,000 sq ft studio facility, dates back to 1927.

It is hoped the new facility will be up and running within months to capitalise on record demand to use Scotland for as a base for major productions.

A funding package has been agreed in principle between the Scottish Government and the city council to create a “box” studio for filming and new production facilities at the 94-year-old venue.

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The Kelvin Hall is already home to Scotland’s official screen archive after a new home was created for the collection, cared for by the National Library of Scotland, as part of a £40 million redevelopment completed in 2016.

The new studio and production facilities will be created to the east of the new facilities created in the previous revamp.

The government has agreed to provide up to £7.9m in funding, with the council planning to borrow £4m, to get the 10,000 sq ft studio up and running.

The deal, expected to be rubber-stamped by councillors on Thursday, has emerged days after the government’s screen agency revealed it was seeing “more productions than ever looking to shoot in studios and build space across Scotland.”

The council said the new studio would help overcome a “significant barrier” to the city’s efforts to attract major film and TV productions. Talks with potential users are already said to be “well advanced.”

It is hoped the new screen hub at the Kelvin Hall will be up and running within months.

The Kelvin Hall venture has been announced 10 months after an operator for a proposed studio on Edinburgh’s waterfront was announced. It has already attracted an Amazon Prime thriller set on a North Sea oil rig.

Council leader Susan Aitken said: “Glasgow’s creative industries are hugely important not only to the city’s economy, but also its culture and its national and international profile.

“The city is home to an incredible community of independent producers, with access to an enviable pipeline of young talent.

“We know they’re in demand all over the country and, often, the world – but we also know that, here at home, there is a relative lack of the kind of studio space they need to be able to win higher-value commissions.

The Kelvin Hall is already home to Scotland's official film and video archive.

“This exciting plan will not only establish that kind of facility, but do it right in the heart of the city. It shows how serious Glasgow is about fostering and building on a well-deserved reputation as centre of excellence in television production.”

Screen Scotland director David Smith said: “The Kelvin Hall will be a distinctive addition to Scotland’s growing studio offer. It will enable Scotland to win more entertainment commissions, as well as drama projects, delivering business and career opportunities just as they’re most needed.

"This proactive move presents production companies in the city and across Scotland with a real opportunity to devise, develop and produce new projects of scale and ambition. Vitally, it will also enable more people in Scotland to develop their skills and realise their screen career ambitions here. It is a significant step forward for our sector."

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This new development would support the city’s thriving creative industries sector, help develop our skills base and attract film and TV productions, creating significant social and economic benefits for Scotland as part of our economic recovery.”

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