Island Life - Plans for a new film and television studio on the Isle of Wight are still live a year after they were announced, the council has insisted. Medina Studios unveiled proposals to construct the complex on the banks of the Medina River, East Cowes, in November 2022. The council said designs were being worked up but no planning application has yet been put forward. It said the US writers' strike had affected demand for UK studio space.
Medina Studios said last year the facility would have four sound stages totalling 70,000sq.ft and be the island's "first screen-based media hub". Production workshops, offices and other related facilities could also be built, creating nearly 1,000 jobs. It added it would benefit from "copious amounts of filming locations on its doorstep" on the island.
Festival Funding - Edinburgh’s annual arts festivals will receive more than £630,000 of funding from the Scottish government as part of an ongoing initiative to support their “strategic development”. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Edinburgh International Festival, Imaginate Children’s Festival and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival will receive £75,000 each.
Scotland’s culture minister Christina McKelvie said the money demonstrated the Scottish government’s “commitment to investing in arts and culture” and would benefit “communities right across the city”. The money, which will be distributed by Creative Scotland, is a continuation of a five-year scheme – now ended – called the Platforms for Creative Excellence Programme, which involved the Scottish government, the City of Edinburgh Council and umbrella organisation Festivals Edinburgh.
On Tour - A new production of Dear Evan Hansen will embark on a UK tour from September next year. The show will open at Nottingham Playhouse, which is producing the show with ATG Productions, and is directed by its artistic director Adam Penford.
Penford said: “Dear Evan Hansen has thrilled audiences on both sides of the Atlantic since it first premiered in 2015. Evan’s powerful story grips and moves people, told through a captivating script and musical score. This first, major, new and exciting UK production offers the opportunity to re-examine some of its contemporary themes and present this brand-new version to Nottingham and around the UK. I’m excited to begin the search for our Evan very soon.”
Unviable - Plans to build a new theatre on the site of the former Assembly Rooms in Derby have been scrapped after "economic challenges" made the project "unviable", the local council has confirmed. Rising costs attributed to high inflation and interest rates have ended hopes for the construction of a purpose-built theatre after the old venue closed following a fire in 2014.
Derby City Council had received £20 million of levelling-up funding to support the plans, which were approved in December 2018, but will now divert the cash into redeveloping the Guildhall Theatre and Derby Theatre. The Grade II-listed Guildhall has been shut since 2019, with campaigners claiming theatre provision in Derby has been severely impacted.
Rocking On - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Zombies are celebrating their career with a hometown festival. The Begin Here Festival is taking place in St Albans, Hertfordshire, where the band formed in 1961. The band's four surviving original members are taking part in a weekend of events, including a screening of a new documentary and live gigs. Singer Colin Blunstone said he had "wonderful memories playing with The Zombies as a teenager in St Albans."
(Jim Evans)
14 November 2023

Latest Issue. . .