Fulwell 73 plans huge Sunderland studio

The scheme is in addition to already-announced plans for Shipyard Studios which will support a wider cluster of film and media activity

By Nia Daniels 27 Feb 2023

Fulwell 73 plans huge Sunderland studio
Studio rendering. Credit: Fulwell 73

Prolific production company Fulwell 73 and Cain International have joined forces to develop Crown Works Studios in Sunderland, aiming to be one of the largest filmmaking complexes in Europe. 

The backers have formed joint venture FulwellCain Studios, with the new facility to be known as Crown Works Studios. The development is likely to provide around 8,450 jobs over the next ten years. Upon completion, it is hoped the scheme could generate £334m for the local economy every year.

Fulwell 73's partners, Gabe Turner, Ben Turner, Leo Pearlman, Ben Winston and James Corden issued this joint statement: “We are unified in our belief that there is a unique opportunity to bring further high end production to the UK through this ambitious Sunderland based studio project; putting the region on the map as a global production destination.”

Leo Pearlman, managing partner at Fulwell 73, continued: “Fulwell is a company built on family and the North East is embedded in our DNA. For over 100 years my family had a business here in Sunderland and called this great City home, so to be able to bring Fulwell back to where the inspiration for our global entertainment company began is a truly humbling experience. 

“Through delivering the studios, we will create a long term production industry infrastructure, attract even more significant high end production to the UK and ensure that future generations of North Eastern talent can develop and prosper at home within the region.”

The project is supported by Sunderland City Council, which has brought together a number of key partners to work with the investors to shape plans including around the development of the skills-base needed to support the scheme. 

The scheme is in addition to already-announced plans for Shipyard Studios which will support a wider cluster of film and media activity.  

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “These are absolutely unparalleled proposals that – if approved - will reinvent the Sunderland economy, establishing the city as home to a modern and growing industry that will create jobs and opportunities for thousands of people across the North East. 

“This is a vote of confidence for the city and its people – recognising Sunderland’s history of innovation and of making things. We have been working on these plans with Fulwell 73 and Cain for many months, so it’s absolutely brilliant to finally be in position to unveil them, and to demonstrate the scale of ambition we have for this city. It’s absolutely transformational and something we’re determined to see through.”

The scheme – which requires support from Government to go ahead - will be delivered in three phases, with work set to start in 2023 and the final phase set to complete by 2027. 

Subject to planning processes, Crown Works Studios will stand on land on the banks of the river Wear, which played a critical role throughout the industrial revolution, when the city was a major shipbuilding hub.  

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