2013 – present
A short distance from the proposed Quartermaster Studios in Purfleet there already exists a rather nice, very well-equipped soundproofed studio space 115ft x 82ft wall to wall. (Slightly larger than the TV studios at Pinewood.) It is within The Backstage Centre – a production rehearsal and training facility. The grid is unique in that it is divided into 3 sections so that student theatre technicians can be trained to operate the various types they will encounter in the real world. One section has counterweight and hemp flying, the centre part is based on catwalks and the third has a tension wire grid. All areas of the grid are easy to operate enabling very sophisticated rigging to take place.
The building opened in 2013 and has won architectural awards. The facilities throughout are superb.
The sound stage is not actually used much for training so is available for most of the time for theatre productions, film shoots including commercials and music videos and live stand-up comedy showcases. Although there are no TV control rooms, it appears to be highly suitable for multicamera TV production using flyaway (derig) kit – it even has a resin laser-levelled TV floor. Surprisingly, very little TV work seems to have been made here. However, (maybe they saw this website?) BBC production Little Mix: The Search recorded its audition shows in this venue early in 2020 and later that same year a Christmas Special 2-hander episode of Upstart Crow was recorded under Covid conditions.
The sound stage is located within High House Production Park, which is also the home of the Royal Opera House’s scenic production workshop and costume centre. The High House Artists Studios are also located here as is the National College for the Creative Industries. In February 2020 South Essex College took over the management and ownership of the Backstage Centre.