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American Shakespeare drama Will filming in Wales

WillNew US TV drama Will is filming on location in Wales and will tell a fictionalised account of the life of the young William Shakespeare.

The nine-part drama is the highest-spending project ever to shoot in Wales and is expected to generate nearly £20m for the local economy.

Production is based at Dragon Studios in South Wales, a facility 30 miles west of capital Cardiff that offers four stages and a five-acre back lot.

Producers have built a Shakespearean theatre in the studio and 16th century London street sets on the backlot. 

“Filming at Dragon Studios has provided many advantages for the production - using Dragon's four stages and its extensive backlot, we have been able to create a whole world in one place,” said Alison Owen, the series’ executive producer. 

“The streets of Shakespeare's London spread out on the backlot, whilst the huge theatre takes up one whole stage [and] additional interior sets complete the show's universe. Other breathtaking exterior locations are a stone's throw away, giving scope and breadth to the show's visual landscape.”

Owen added that the production chose Wales because of the proximity of suitable filming locations combined with strong crew bases in Swansea and Cardiff. The fact that London is only a few hours away was also an attractive proposition as scenes will also be shot in the English capital.     

“It gives us a platform, not just in the US but globally, to promote Wales as a great location for filming which is backed by real expertise and talent,” said Ken Skates, Wales’ economy cabinet secretary.  

“It will provide a great opportunity for Welsh companies and freelancers while helping to expand the supply chain and increasing and up-skilling the crew base in Wales.”

For more on filming in Wales and for local contacts see our production guide.

American historical drama series The Bastard Executioner was previously filmed at Dragon Studios but was cancelled after only one season. Before that Da Vinci’s Demons was a greater success for Wales, running for three seasons with a production base at Bay Studios in Swansea.

A major TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed fantasy saga His Dark Materials is also planned as a Wales shoot by Bad Wolf, a production company set up by former BBC producers Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner.

Bad Wolf will film most of the production in a studio setting and is reportedly considering setting up a major new facility to accommodate the shoot. 

Image: TNT


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