Northern Ireland’s Linen Mill Film & TV Studios, which is currently hosting season three of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’, has announced the launch of a newly refurbished 5,000 sq foot stage which will be available for use from next month.
The studio opened in 2011 to cater for the massive HBO production and its on-going success has allowed the Banbridge-based premises to expand its 120,000 sq foot space.
‘Game of Thrones’ has been filming at Linen Mill since June, after HBO decided to return to the studio after a successful run in season two.
The fantasy adventure is also shooting at Belfast’s Paint Hall Studios, which has recently added two new sound stages to its Titanic Quarter, as well as Shane’s Castle Estate in Antrim, Redhall Estate in Carrickfergus and the Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve.
‘Game of Thrones’ is currently occupying The Linen Mill’s 40,000 sq foot main stage, with 72,000 sq foot of the studio’s space currently fully booked by the international production.
To date, production crew have extensively used Linen Mill’s 160 feet-long and 145 feet tall green screen facilities, which is accompanied by a flood gate, as well as prop rooms, costume areas, and general catering and hospitality departments.
The newly developed Stage 5, a 5,000 sq foot square format stage, is now available for short term rentals. Stage 5 includes music video filming space, rehearsal space, a production office and a dressing room with full studio height dock doors.
The studio was formerly the location for Ulster Weavers, a textiles company owned by the John Hogg group. The group owns nearly 30 companies, and has retained ownership of the Linen Mill studio. The studio sits on 32 acres of land, and is situated just 30 minutes from Belfast. It provides 24-hour security and access, with customer care crew on hand on site.
Director of development Robert Wilson told IFTN the studio’s aim is to expand its facilities so it can attract other productions in the year starting 2015. He said although the studio was purpose built for ‘Game of Thrones’, the John Hogg group now plans to continue trading as a studio space, which is open to the film, television and music industries. Just last year musician Lady Gaga and her band used the rehearsal space and crew facilities to amend broken equipment.
Wilson says facilities such as these will be available to both large and small productions, and he is currently inviting production companies with an interest in filming in Northern Ireland to visit the space and test the facilities for themselves.
The ‘Game of Thrones’ production meanwhile continues to stack up the awards on the international circuit, having been named Programme of the Year at the TV Critics Awards on Saturday night. The award comes just days after the HBO show was nominated for an impressive 11 Emmy’s.
‘Game of Thrones’ received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.