A former NatWest bank branch is getting a new lease of life – as an animation company’s new headquarters.
The three-storey building in Stoke town centre is undergoing a major transformation after it was taken over by Carse & Waterman.
The company – which is credited for work on the Kidulthood film series and ITV’s The Keith and Paddy Picture Show among others – has already started to move its seven-strong team to the first floor of the Campbell Road building.
And plans are already in place to turn the ground floor space into a new digital and creative skills hub, called Framescape.
Once complete, the hub – which will be open to anyone with the ambition of a career in the creative industries – will boast a classroom and a 17-seat cinema room.
It is being developed in partnership with London-based Dreamscape Studios and Popcorn Learning Media.
Daniel Waterman, co-founder of Carse & Waterman, told BusinessLive: “2020 has been an odd year and coronavirus has hit many industries hard, but it also gave us time to work on out plans for our new building.
“We see this development as having multiple level benefits for the city. There’s a regeneration element, in that we want to breathe new life into Stoke High Street and renovate a large, disused building.
“It is also a headquarters for our company, provides production space for Dreamscape and the digital skills hub will focus on raising aspirations and signposting our city’s young people towards potential careers.”
He added: “During lockdown, we launched a collaboration with the city’s YMCA to talk about digital skills and we hope that’s just the start. All young people have digital skills nowadays and we want them to think how they can harness them to build a good career.
“Lockdown also highlighted the digital divide with too many families struggling with home schooling due to a lack of access to basic technology. It is an area where we believe we can help.”
Carse & Waterman, which was previously based at Federation House in Stoke, has worked on projects for a number of big-name films and TV shows over the last 10 years.
This includes a successful music video for hit band The Prodigy and an advert campaign for Santander as well as Sky One comedy TV show There’s Something About Movies and BBC comedy Inside Number 9.
Daniel said: “Stoke-on-Trent has always been a hotbed of creativity, from Josiah Wedgwood onwards. There’s no reason why our new creative future shouldn’t involve the digital industries. Young people can use the digital skills they all learn in schools to build a career in film, animation, visual effects, software development and much more.
“We want Framescape to inspire and open a gateway for young people.
“Stoke-on-Trent was a powerhouse of the first industrial revolution and we’re determined to raise aspirations and make the city part of the new digital revolution.”