The Iconic Riverside Studios Returns

Opening in three phases, following its five year redevelopment

twilight image of new studios

After a five-year multi-million pound redevelopment the iconic Riverside Studios has a brand-new building.

Hammersmith’s historic arts centre with cutting-edge facilities is due to open in three phases, with the doors to the new multi-million-pound building now open to the public for the first time.

Opening this week in phase one will be Studio 8 Café and Bar and adjacent coffee shop alongside Sam’s Riverside.

It will be shortly followed by the flagship television studio, Studio 1, run by Riverside TV Studios Ltd that will begin producing broadcasts for local and international audiences almost immediately.

The new Riverside Studios has multiple performance, rehearsal and broadcast spaces which will be presenting exhibitions, independent film and theatre from both established and emerging voices. A new exhibition Riverside@Riverside will open on 21 November and run until January, presented by the Riverside Artists Group celebrating their return to the iconic building.

Riverside first opened as a film studio in the 1930s, and was one of the original BBC TV Studios in the 1950s, when it developed a reputation for presenting innovative art and became a home for some of the leading names in the theatre, television and film industries.

river with image of riverside studio and hammersmith bridge

Its new position on the Thames beside Hammersmith Bridge, sees all the building’s public facilities now enjoying magnificent views of the river. The new public walkway also allows the public to walk beside it from Hammersmith Bridge to Putney.

Tickets go on sale today for the world premiere of Persona, to open on 23 January 2020, a theatrical adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same name, marking phase two and the opening of Studio 3, one of the brand-new theatres to open at Riverside Studios. A psychological thriller, this new translation of Persona is adapted and directed by Paul Schoolman and stars Alice Krige and Nobuhle Ketelo, accompanied by renowned US musician William Close playing his signature Earth Harp with an original score.

Following Persona will be Love, Loss & Chianti (25 February - 16th May) starring Robert Bathurst and Rebecca Johnson, in a two-part evening pairing the critically acclaimed A Scattering with The Song of Lunch by Costa Book Prize award-winner Christopher Reid.

Riverside’s two screen cinemas will open in January. The film curators are Jason Wood, Artistic Director of Film and Culture at HOME in Manchester and Rachel Hayward, Head of Film at HOME. The film programme will be announced in December, and Wood has promised a broad mix of first-run films, mixed with the best in independent cinema and a range of festivals and seasons.

March 2020 will see the final public areas in the building open, in phase three. Studio 2 is a flexible performance space with up to 500 seats, and Studio 5 is a rehearsal room that can also host community events and workshops. The programme for Studio 2 will be announced soon and will feature work selected and produced by Emily Dobbs who, since her early days working behind the bar at the old Riverside, has gone on to become an acclaimed producer, most recently having presented Revolver in the West End. She will work on a year-long season of theatre at Riverside.

Apart from having the space to present both intimate and large-scale productions, Riverside’s new building is distinctive in that all the performance areas are digitally enabled and connected to a central control room, making it possible to either record or transmit live work from the building to a global audience.

riverside studios

Artistic Director William Burdett-Coutts said today: “To see Riverside Studios reopen its doors to the public is the culmination of a dream. Whilst the old building held an extremely fond place in the hearts of people across the arts, television and film worlds it had all the benefits and problems of a “found space”. Essentially it began life as a Victorian factory and through a number of different incarnations played a part in all these different worlds. Today the new building combines all these interests into a fantastic new public facility which can realise the potential for this incredible site in London. The artists that have passed through the building are legendary and we look forward to welcoming many more in future and making this a place the public feel they can enjoy and cherish.”

Riverside Studios is run by the Riverside Trust, a charitable entity. The organisation is not publicly funded and operates on a model that uses commercial revenue to support its charitable objectives, which include not only making the arts accessible to a wider community, but also to embark on education and inclusivity programmes.

In addition to the performance spaces and studios, Riverside is also leasing office space.While looking to the future, Riverside Studios is deeply aware of its roots and, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Riverside’s archive will be conserved and made available to the public. A purpose-built archive store will house our collection, which will be accessible through digitisation and a programme community events.

The residential development was led by London developers Mount Anvil and A2 Dominion. Along with the Riverside studios, there are 165 apartments and a new riverside walkway to connect the Thames Path to Hammersmith Bridge.

November 20, 2019