Patron Adil Ray OBE cuts the ribbon to officially open Screen and Film School Birmingham

31 May, 2022

On Thursday 26th May everyone at Screen and Film School Birmingham were delighted to welcome our college patron Adil Ray OBE to cut the ribbon and officially open our shared building with Performers College, alongside our staff, students and industry partners.

Rea Studios is a purpose-built, creative learning environment for the new generation of Birmingham filmmakers. Housing fully spec’d edit suites with industry-standard software such as Avid, Adobe Suite, DaVinci Resolve studio and Final Cut X, two mac rooms, a film studio, a screening room and an open plan communal reception area, our students have everything they need to creatively flourish from day one of their undergraduate degree courses.


Adil Ray with Hannah Stevenson, David Thompson, Dara Kilkenny, Adam Davenport, Principal Vaseema Hamilton.

In attendance at the grand opening of Rea Studios were College Principal Hannah Stevenson, Screen and Film School Manchester College Principal David Thompson, Executive Principal Dara Kilkenny, Performers College Principal Adam Davenport, and Performers College Executive Principal Vaseema Hamilton.

To begin a day which was jam-packed with activities, students quite literally kicked off the proceedings with a combat training workshop from stunt coordinator Dean Williams, who is also the founder of one of our industry partners, Birmingham Film Festival. Dean is a 6th Degree Black Belt and has been teaching Martial Arts for over 25 years, with film credits including Final Score (2018), He Who Dares (2014) and Enter the Cage (2016).

Screen and Film School student with their hands fists

Students were also invited to take part in a group workshop learning how to create effective lighting for darker skin tones, with the help of cinematographer and Screen and Film School Birmingham lecturer Tunji Akinsehinwa and two professional actors.

In addition to this, students were also given the opportunity to network with some of our industry partners and friends of the Film School, including Jason Wingard, Gaurav Bavdankar, Spaghetti Studios, Flatpack Film Festival, BBC Academy, Cine Excess, and of course our incredible patrons Kit de Waal and Adil Ray.

Screen and Film School students on set with man in background sitting down

Before cutting the ribbon and unveiling a brand-new plaque to officially open the building, Adil discussed his role at Screen and Film School Birmingham and why our college is so essential:

“Today, I walked around two stunning colleges and saw various, diverse masterclasses being taught, including stunt acting, cinematography, lighting for darker skin tones, a former Cirque Du Soleil cast member teaching acrobatic tricks, a current West End performer sharing his knowledge and a commercial dance class. I can’t wait to see how the students’ careers take off.

It’s been great. I feel very proud to be a patron of Screen and Film School Birmingham. It’s so essential for our region, as we’re such a thriving industry now, and it’s growing all the time.

Schools like this are a vital part of the machine. I wish there was a school I could have gone to when I started out to learn and pick up so many skills and work with great creatives.

Those opportunities were scarce in my time, but the fact they’re here now is fantastic. So I say to anybody out there who wants to tell their stories and is thinking about going into the scary business of media, film and television – it’s not scary at all, just come here.”

 Adil Ray with Screen and Film School students and staff

This launch has been long-awaited by College Principal Hannah Stevenson and Executive Principal Dara Kilkenny. Dara Kilkenny had this to say:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be celebrating the official opening of our Birmingham campus. These state-of-the-art facilities offer the very best training for those wishing to enter into the world of film and television in this vibrant city. Our first intake of filmmakers have spent the past year hard at work and we can’t wait to see what comes next for them – there’s a very bright future ahead.”

Screen and Film School Birmingham balloon

Applicant Experience Manager Lucy Carey added to Dara’s sentiments, saying:

“Being part of Screen and Film School Birmingham from the off and seeing it all come together in a big launch event was amazing. Having our patrons Adil Ray and Kit de Waal present alongside our industry partners for the unveiling of the new building shows how industry is right at the heart of everything we do.

Rea Studios is the first and only film school of its kind in the Midlands and having industry partners at the event offering students filmmaking opportunities makes it all worthwhile. I hope to see more potential students through our doors at our upcoming Open Days in the next few months. We’re just going to keep growing and being from the Midlands myself it makes me so proud to see filmmaking taking off here!”

A huge thank you to all the attendees at this brilliant event for Screen and Film School Birmingham. Though we’ve only just officially opened Rea Studios, there’s no slowing down in Digbeth, as we recently announced a planned expansion and the acquisition of a vast adjoining space which will include a second large film studio, new teaching rooms and more industry-standard facilities. Over 4000 square feet of new floor space will be built in early 2023 to accompany our existing building as student numbers continue to grow.



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