Category: Crew

Screen Alliance North launches Connected Communities events as part of the BBC’s Bring the Drama Festival

Posted on by North East Screen

This March, Screen Alliance North will be hosting its first series of Connected Communities events, with the support of BFI National Lottery funding, and partners the BBC. These events aim to increase accessibility to the screen industry and help improve working practices, encouraging a more diverse and inclusive workforce. They form part of the BBC’s wider Bring The Drama festival which is running across the UK throughout March.

These learning and networking events will be hosted at key Northern Studios and facilities, including Space Studios in Manchester, The Northern Studios in Hartlepool, and FACT in Liverpool.

Open to all northern crew and those interested in working in the industry, the free events, which will take place in person, and can be accessed online, will focus on themes such as environmental and social sustainability, wellbeing and good working practices and inclusion and diversity, all aimed at encouraging access to the screen industry across the North of England.

Penny Hall, Skills Cluster Partnership Lead at Screen Alliance North said;
“Connected Communities is a new strand of flagship, annual Screen Alliance North events which aim to connect our underrepresented communities in the North through learning and networking, and to help grow and sustain a well balanced, forward thinking workforce. The free events are for anyone currently working in the screen industry as crew, in production companies as well as those interested in a career in the industry.

We hope the events will encourage local camaraderie and provide opportunities for learning, upskilling and making new contacts. For those new to the industry it will give that all important foot in the door providing a new network for helping to access future work. We are thrilled to be working with  the BBC on these events, and a number of other fantastic partner organisations will be participating in our panel discussions.”

Each event will consist of a panel discussion with the BBC and other industry experts, a workshop designed to inform, educate and inspire and a networking event encouraging collaboration, knowledge sharing and contact making.

Dawn Beresford, Director of Talent and Skills, BBC Commissioning, said:

“I am delighted that Screen Alliance North have created these three events in Liverpool, Hartlepool and Manchester as part of our Bring the Drama Festival. The BBC are committed to investing in and supporting local creative economies across the UK and the Connected Communities events are one of the important partnerships to help build skills and develop talent across the creative landscape.”

Screen Alliance North Connected Communities events:

Film and TV sustainability day in Liverpool
Wednesday 6th March
FACT, Liverpool

Overcoming barriers in film and TV
Thursday 14th March
The Northern Studios, Hartlepool
Overcoming barriers in film and TV Tickets, Thu 14 Mar 2024 at 13:00 | Eventbrite

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Film and TV
Thursday 21st March
Space Studios, Manchester

Production studio pictures a brighter future in Sunderland

Posted on by North East Screen

A media production company which has worked on blockbuster films and world-tour concerts has swapped London for Sunderland.

Sensel Studio, whose showreel includes Murder on the Orient Express, the Fast and the Furious and numerous Amazon and Netflix productions, has moved to the historic Mackie’s Corner in the heart of Sunderland city centre.

The move has seen the company, which specialises in virtual productions, designing workflows, engineering pipelines and live events, move its entire operation to the North East to capitalise on ‘the region’s growing screen industry’.

“We made the decision to move to Sunderland as we could see the huge potential in its growing screen and tech industries,” said Chris Simcock, founder and managing director.

“When you look at the development of Crown Works Studios, the recent announcements by BBC and Channel 4 to produce more shows here and the University’s continued investment into its media production courses, there is just so much potential.”

Sensel officially moved into Mackies Corner in September following the completion of work on The Co.llective, a suite of ‘individually crafted workspaces designed specifically to meet the needs of creative businesses.’

Located in Sunderland city centre, the office is just a short drive from the proposed £450 million Crown Works Studios development, which took a major step forward this week [20 Nov] with the official submission of a planning application.

“We knew it was perfect for us as soon as we saw the place,” he said. “It had a real sense of history and was just a breath of fresh air.

“As a creative business, we love the idea of a collective and all of the neighbouring studios we’ve met are of similar mindset.

“It feels like a collective of creative free spirits but all who are keen to grow their interests commercially and give back to the community.”

Chris’ decision to leave London for the North East of England also coincided with a post-lockdown realisation that, due to the company’s global reach, there was no real need for the company to be anchored in the bustling capital.

“Covid made me realise that we could do business anywhere and being based in London wasn’t necessarily an advantage,” he said.

“By coming to the North East, we can tap into top talent from the university, which is something we’re keen to do as we recruit over the next 12 months.

“We’re right near the sea, just a short drive from countryside and are only an hour’s drive from the airport which can get us wherever we need to be at short notice. Once we factored everything in, it was just an absolute no brainer.”

Alex Kirtley, managing director of Mackies Corner developer, Kirtley Co, said: “The idea behind The Co.llective was to bring to market the workspace required to help grow the city’s creative sector and the arrival of Sensel Studio show how it’s already doing just that.

“To have a business which could have up sticks to anywhere in the world choosing to relocate to Sunderland shows just how appealing an offer the city’s offer is at the moment and we’re delighted to be playing a part in that.”

Sensel Studio was supported during its move to the city by the Business Investment Team at Sunderland City Council who worked with Chris and the team to identify the perfect premises.

Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member at Sunderland City Council, said: “Our growing screen and tech industries have really put Sunderland on the map over recent years and this is a prime example of that.

“From the city’s 5G roll-out to the arrival of North East Screen, Crown Works Studios proposals and the regeneration of Riverside Sunderland, Sunderland is a city transforming and we are delighted that Sensel Studio are joining us on our journey.”

Screen Alliance North makes two key appointments to take forward plans to build screen industry skills across the North of England

Posted on by North East Screen

The new skills partnership created by Liverpool Film Office, North East Screen, Screen Manchester and Screen Yorkshire, and supported by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, has appointed a Skills Cluster Partnership Lead and a Skills Cluster Evaluation Manager.

In April 2023, Screen Alliance North was selected as the BFI Skills Cluster for the North of England and awarded £2.3m of BFI National Lottery funding to make the screen sector more accessible and representative and to build a thriving and skilled workforce across the North of England.

The funding is enabling the Alliance to work collaboratively with local industry, education and training providers to develop clearer pathways to long-term employment in film and TV production.

Working closely with all four screen agencies, Penny Hall, the new Skills Cluster Partnership Lead will support the development and delivery of an events programme and help to identify industry investment for priority activities. She will build key partnerships with screen industry employers and manage an advisory group to champion the Alliance’s vision of making the industry more sustainable and improving good working practice.

Penny, who previously worked at Into Film, the UK’s leading charity for film in education said;“I am delighted to work with the new partnership at such a crucial time for the screen industry in the North. There are many opportunities opening up for screen industry professionals and we want to build the skills base in the North quickly to fulfil the growing demand from production. Bridging the gap from training to industry is vital, as is ensuring the industry is more accessible than ever before.”

Cassandra White fills the position of Skills Cluster Evaluation Manager and has a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector. Cassandra will be responsible for evaluating the wide range of activities delivered by Screen Alliance North, capturing data, tracking participant engagement and compiling case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of the work.

“I’ve had first hand experience of the challenges and hurdles of finding work in the industry,” said Cassandra, who looked to get into script editing at the start of her career. “I will be using my writing skills and vast experience in the charity sector to highlight the successes of the programme telling the stories of the people we support and inspiring the next generation of TV and film industry professionals.”

Caroline Cooper Charles, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire added;
“The two appointments are crucial in establishing our partnership and driving our vision forward. Penny and Cassandra have the passion, motivation and experience to support, co-ordinate and champion skills activity across our combined area.

We know we have the talent and ambition in the North of England and we want to open the door to the industry providing career opportunities for many from whatever background and walk of life. We are excited for what Screen Alliance North can achieve.”

New multi-million pound production fund set to ignite North East screen industry

Posted on by North East Screen

On Tuesday in the heart of London, North East Screen was in the spotlight as it launched its multi-million pound Production Fund to a room full of screen industries movers and shakers. The fund is set to transform the North East and attract more production companies and filmmakers to film in the region hot on the heels of much anticipated studio development plans. 

North East talent and locations have starred on screens in recent years with major feature films such as Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and 1917, as well as much loved TV drama Vera and children’s show The Dumping Ground, all choosing the North East to act as a backdrop.

Gayle Woodruffe, Operations Director at North East Screen said,

“We’ve got world class talent, exciting studio developments, an emerging infrastructure and now a Production Fund to supercharge the screen industry in the North East. We will attract more high-end TV productions, feature films and returning series to the region, providing more jobs and opportunities for regional and re-locating crew.”

Piloted in early 2023, the North East Production Fund has so far funded three very different productions: feature film JACKDAW from Tees Valley-born Director, Jamie Childs, and Anton Corp; unscripted children’s TV show, Cooking with the Gills, from Sunderland-based MCC Media, for Milkshake; and highly-anticipated drama, The Red King, from Quay Street Productions for UKTV.

Speaking of the support they have received from the Production Fund, Samantha McMillion, Chief Operating Officer at Quay Street Productions said,

“The support we have received from North East Screen through the Production Fund has been extraordinary. The team at North East Screen strive to work as a partner to production and have ensured that communication, and their approach, is collaborative throughout. Their team has been fantastic to work with and I would encourage other productions to seriously consider filming in the North East.

“Being able to provide jobs for local people, support trainees from the region and contribute to the continued growth of the industry in the North East is something we really value at Quay Street.”

Feature film JACKDAW is Tees Valley-born Jamie Childs’ directorial debut, shot in and around the area he grew up in. He said,

“I come from a northern colliery village and I’ve always wanted to make things here. The film shows off the North East in a very stylised and fictional way and allowed me and the great cast and crew to just have fun filming it.”

Delivered by regional screen agency, North East Screen, on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP), the discretionary fund looks to support scripted and unscripted film and TV productions from both indigenous companies and incoming productions with grants being made between £50,000 up to £500,000. All applications are judged by an independent panel of industry experts following a rigorous application process.  

NESIP is the ambitious partnership of all 12 local and combined authorities across North East England investing in growing the screen industry, driving inward investment and creating local jobs. North East Screen is delivering this groundbreaking programme to grow a thriving screen ecosystem which includes a hands-on film office service and significant skills and talent support. In a tough economic environment the North East is both ready to invest in productions ready to shoot immediately, but also interested in having conversations about development opportunities which best showcase the talent and beauty of the region with even more funding opportunities on the horizon. Productions should complete an Expression of Interest at

We are hiring – come work for the North East Screen family!

Posted on by North East Screen

We are looking for two people to join us as Development Coordinator and Skills Coordinator and continue to develop and support the North East’s film and TV industry.

If you love film and TV, have solid admin skills, a creative eye and want to make an impact then the Development Coordinator role may be just right for you. You’ll be part of the Talent and Business Development team helping to support North East companies and talent to land opportunities and thrive.

There’ll be a number of administrative duties you’ll have to do and be first port of call for all development related enquiries, as well as assisting the wider team with events and content creation.

Apply now for the Development Coordinator role.

If you fancy helping people get work in film and TV and supporting them on their journey, then apply to be our Skills Coordinator? You will be part of the Film Office team, reporting to the Skills Manager.

Your role will see you support North East based crew and those looking to get into the industry, offering insights on work opportunities, and give our Crew Academy members support and advice that will lead to them landing that next role. You’ll also look after our Crew Academy database, ensuring it is up-to-date and explore ways to grow and maintain it.

Apply now for the Skills Coordinator role.

You have until Midnight, Sunday 8th October to apply.

Deadline extended for Skills Cluster Evaluation Manager role

Posted on by North East Screen

You now have until the 13th of June to apply for the Skills Cluster Evaluation role with Screen Alliance North.

This role is full time (37 hours per week) on a three year fixed contract. You can be based at any of the partner offices in Sunderland, Hartlepool, Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds and will see work across all of the partner regions.

Screen Alliance North, a new £2.3m BFI Skills Cluster led by Screen Yorkshire, Liverpool Film Office, Screen Manchester and North East Screen, has been created to support the development and training of the screen sector workforce across the North of England.

Visit our careers page to learn more about this role.

North East Screen appoints industry specialist as new Skills Manager

Posted on by North East Screen

North East Screen, the region’s screen agency, has appointed Lisa Davidson, a highly experienced screen industry professional, to their latest new role as they continue to build the organisation to serve the growing TV and film industry.

Production Designer Lisa, is the latest recruit to the growing workforce of the organisation who is tasked with finding, growing and championing talent and skills in the North East region.

An experienced Art Director and Production Designer who has worked in the industry on long running TV series’ such as Coronation Street and Heartbeat and more local productions, The Dumping Ground and Wolfblood, Lisa is delighted to be joining the organisation to play a part in helping local people find their career path in the region.

Lisa said; “Working as a freelancer I’ve been offered work in Liverpool, Manchester, London, Cypress and even the Caribbean but now that I have a family I’m firmly rooted in the North East. Working at North East Screen gives me the opportunity to still work in the industry, be with my children and help crew get work and develop talent in the North East. It’s important that people in the region can have a chance of working in this industry but not having move away from home.

I have knowledge and experience of working on sets from Coronation Street and Heartbeat to Sam Fender’s 17 Going Under and The 1975’s Settle Down music videos, and I feel these will be useful to help people get on in the industry. I want to encourage productions to film here by creating a sustainable workforce in this region to meet the demand of TV and film productions coming to film in our fabulous region.”

The Skills Manager position was created to develop North East Screen’s Crew Academy, grow the existing crew database and create trainee and shadowing opportunities on productions through North East Screen’s Access initiative.

Gayle Woodruffe, Operations Director at North East Screen explained;

“As well as encouraging North East people to consider the film and TV industry as a viable career option we are also supporting existing professional industry crew to achieve their ambitions. We’re keen to reach out to those from the region wanting to return to work in the North East. Lisa will help identify career pathways as well as considering skills shortages and gaps to help support the growing number of productions.

Lisa brings with her a wealth of industry experience and knowledge of 15 years working at a high level in TV drama productions across the North. She will play a part in growing the industry, inspiring, engaging and advising the talent we have here now and the next generation of North East Crew. We are very pleased to have her join the team.”

New opportunity for North East comedy writers

Posted on by North East Screen

We have an exciting opportunity for comedy writers who are over the age of 18 and based in the North East.

We are looking to introduce writing talent from the region to Schnoobert, a production company that aims to encourage, train, and facilitate up and coming talent in the North East.

Schnoobert productions was created by award winning stand up, actor, screenwriter and executive producer, Jason Cook. Jason’s writing and production credits include UK Gold’s highest rated show to date Murder on the Blackpool Express, Death on the Tyne, and  Dial M for Middlesbrough.

Ten writers will be invited to take part in a writer’s round table with Schnoobert to aid the development of their writing and ideas.

This opportunity is aimed at writers rather than writer/performers (we have other opportunities for writer/performers planned for 2023). Both emerging and established writers can apply for this opportunity if they would like to receive an introduction to Jason and Schnoobert.

To apply, please send:

• A brief summary of your experience to date – please specify if you have TV credits

• Three example top lines

• A three-page writing sample (formatted)

• Completed NE Screen EDI Form (download here)

Please email these over as clearly labelled pdf attachments (with your name and which attachment it is) to by midnight on Monday 23rd January. Please use “Introduction to Schnoobert” as the subject header of your email. Invitations to the writers round table will be sent out on the 20th of February.

Jason Cook, CEO of Schnoobert Productions said: “We’re really excited to be talking to new writers and hearing their ideas. It can often be nerve wracking sending something in for the first time. Will it be terrible? Is it only me that likes this? But what we are looking for are just interesting stories from creative minds, nothing is perfect when it’s in its first iteration so please just give us your most exciting ideas and we will do our best to realise them!”

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please email

National media conference to be held in the North East in 2023

Posted on by North East Screen

The popular screen sector conference Creative Cities Convention will be held in the North East of England from the 26th to 27th of April, with a packed schedule of sessions and activities reflecting the boom in film, tv and digital production that’s underway across the UK.

The Creative Cities Convention (CCC) is a unique meeting place where content creators working outside London can network together and discuss the big media issues that affect them every day.

The event will take place at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle, less than five minutes’ walk from the central station and an iconic building that started life in the 1820s as the home of Robert Stephenson and Company, the world’s first locomotive works. This beautiful, listed building has ample room for the main conference of over 300 delegates along with meet-the-commissioner sessions and a marketplace for different organisations to showcase their activities, topped off with a lively evening networking party. 

There will be student masterclasses and sessions in other parts of the wider North East too, where production is soaring as the region scales up to meet record investment from organisations like the BBC, local authorities and independent companies.

The CCC team will be working in partnership with North East Screen to deliver the conference and with the North of Tyne, South of Tyne and Tess Valley Combined Authorities, who have together formed the North East Screen Industries Partnership to rise to the challenge of growing production across all genres. 

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen says ‘We are delighted to welcome the Creative Cities Convention to our region at a time when production is increasing, partnerships are strengthening and growth in the sector is becoming a reality. To be hosting a convention of this scale and stature in the North East, which attracts content creators from all parts of the UK, is a real honour and an opportunity and we can’t wait to be involved and showcase the North East as a hotbed of creativity and talent.’

‘We could not be more thrilled to take our event to the North East in 2023,’ says conference director Ruth Pitt. ‘The screen sector is growing rapidly there, and the venue is accessible to content creators from right across the UK, whether you’re in Glasgow or Belfast, Manchester or Cardiff, Brighton or Bristol. We’re extending our sessions to offer even better takeout for everyone so it’s an event not to be missed’.

Last year’s conference was a sellout success at the Fazeley Studios in Birmingham, a return to normal after two years of pandemic disruption. This year the event will be extended to offer a full afternoon of sessions and a networking party on Day One and then another full day of debate and discussion on Day Two. BBC Newsnight journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark will return as host.

As the Creative Cities Convention celebrates its fifth birthday in 2023 there will be something of value for producers, freelances, broadcasters, streamers and students alike. 

BBC Comedy announces brand new supercharged bursary and grant schemes

Posted on by North East Screen

BBC Comedy today (Monday 19 December) announces two brand new opportunities for comedy talent as the BBC Comedy Collective and BBC Comedy Grants are launched.

The BBC Comedy Collective has been established as a supercharged bursary scheme which will continue to celebrate the work of writers, Felix Dexter, Caroline Aherne and Galton & Simpson, plus new producer and director representatives, Ash Atalla and Christine Gernon by offering 10 places to the next generation of writers, producers and directors who would like to develop their careers in scripted comedy.

BBC Comedy will be building on the great work that the individual writing bursaries have done to date, by bringing everyone together and adding in producers and directors to form this bursary supergroup of experience in a format that allows BBC Comedy to offer more opportunity, more places, more finance, more activity and more access to an instant network of comedy experts.

The BBC Comedy Collective comprises of estate representatives, Geoff Schuman & Paul Whitehouse (for Felix Dexter), Tessa La Bars and the Galton Family (for Galton & Simpson), Lucy Ansbro (for Caroline Aherne) plus the new producer and director representatives, Ash Atalla and Christine Gernon, alongside the alumni of previous BBC bursary winners.

This is not an entry level opportunity but will be open to anyone who has had at least one previous credit in writing, producing or directing in any genre, across any platform – such as radio, theatre, podcasts, stand up or commercials. Applicants will also need to be able to demonstrate a strong passion for and commitment to comedy.

Each bursary winner will receive up to £10,000 worth of paid shadowing on a BBC Comedy production, along with an allocated production mentor, plus a £5,000 development grant to put towards new material at the end of the placement. They will also have a dedicated point of contact within the BBC Comedy Commissioning team who will help guide them through their year, as well as access to the Comedy Collective representatives.

The bursary winners will have their expenses covered to attend up to three BBC comedy events over their year on the scheme. Events next year will include the BBC Comedy Festival taking place in Cardiff in May 2023, plus short film and networking evenings across the UK, with other events to be announced in due course.

Successful applicants will also receive exclusive access to bespoke training and personal development opportunities provided by the BBC Academy, plus access to BAFTA’s tailored programme of learning and career development activity for new entrants and emerging talent.

The BBC Comedy Collective will be working in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland and BBC Wales, with the support of BBC Writersroom, BBC History, BBC Academy, BAFTA and a range of screen agencies including North East Screen and Creative Wales. Within the 10 places, at least 1 will be guaranteed for an individual based in Scotland, 1 in Northern Ireland, 1 in Wales and 1 in Newcastle (the 2022 City of Comedy) and BBC Comedy will actively be encouraging applications from individuals from diverse and underrepresented groups.

BBC Comedy will be looking forward to welcoming the next generation of up-and-coming comedy talent from across the UK into the BBC Comedy Collective – Class of 23.  Previous BBC Comedy bursary winners have gone on to win script commissions, get agents, produce radio shows and make a BAFTA award-winning TV series.

Alongside the bursary, also confirmed today is a brand-new BBC Comedy Grants scheme which is an opportunity to increase BBC Comedy’s engagement with companies, organisations and communities from across the UK who want to support growth and access opportunity in comedy. The grants are aimed at small organisations, groups, charities or projects which are doing targeted comedy outreach across the UK. The grants are not for individuals to develop a project, or production companies developing ideas, but exclusively for outreach and inclusion activity with comedy. There will be 10 grants of £5k available, and applications will open on Monday 9th January.

Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy at the BBC said: “BBC Comedy is renowned worldwide for finding and nurturing some of the most brilliant writers and performers working in television and film today. The BBC Comedy Collective is a commitment to help ensure this remains the case and cast the net wider to include off screen talent such as directors and producers, who are often the unsung heroes of our most cherished shows.”

Tessa Le Bars & the Galton family on behalf of Galton & Simpson said: “Galton & Simpson Estates are delighted to be part of the expanded BBC Comedy Collective now being offered from 2023, following on the great work started by the original Galton and Simpson Writers Bursary in 2020, This new suite of bursaries will provide a back to front coverage of comedy production and we hope will deliver some exciting new works  next year and beyond to ensure the continuation of the great British sit-com genre started by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson way back in the 1950s.”

Geoff Schuman on behalf of Felix Dexter said “The BBC continues to be a fantastic creative partner in continuing the legacy of several famous comedians who have sadly passed away. They have been magnificent in their efforts to supporting the works of Felix Dexter and ensuring that his abilities will be remembered for generations. The BBC remains as one of the leading creative outlets for championing equality and diversity….Long may this continue.”

Paul Whitehouse on behalf of Felix Dexter said: “The BBC is the natural home of comedy along with much else in broadcasting. But certainly it is a “brand leader” in terms of comedy. So many shows that mean so much to us would not have been created without the beeb. It continues to develop and nurture new talent and one of the more novel ways is through the bursary system.”

Lucy Ansbro on behalf of Caroline Aherne: “Caroline Aherne’s Estate is honoured to stand alongside the powerhouse of creative talents that forms the new BBC Comedy Collective. The Corporation has always been front and centre when it comes to nurturing comedy talent from all walks of life and long may it continue. The Caroline Aherne Bursary was established by the BBC to foster a new generation of female performers in the North, so to be part of the expansion project means even more opportunity for those who reflect modern Britain to be heard.”

Ash Atalla said: “When the BBC asked me to be the producer representative, I laughed. What could a 6 times BAFTA winner be able to teach anyone? They talked me round and Im now genuinely delighted to part of the Comedy Top Gun Academy. I look forward to working with the best of the best”

Christine Gernon said: “The BBC is perhaps the greatest of our institutions and its history of nurturing and growing world class players is unrivalled.  This scheme offers so much for the future of our industry and I’m delighted and honoured to be contributing. I owe my career to the BBC who recognised, trained and guided me so it’s a privilege to work alongside the BBC comedy team recognising, training and guiding the next generation of Comedy directors.”

Emma Lawson, Commissioning Editor, BBC Comedy and Initiative Lead said: “Having partaken in a scheme like this myself I know how important and transformative they are to people making their way in the industry. They are also incredibly important to us as broadcasters to make sure we have exciting pathways that allow us to forge relationships with the best up-and-coming comedy talent from around the country, to ensure we have the best people in our stable so we’re able to continue the BBC legacy of producing the best, globally renowned, comedy programming out there.”

More information on the scheme and how to apply will be available via  and applications open on Monday 9th January 2023.