When we move into a new house we are inundated with sayings about how lovely our new place will be and how happy we will be there. Home is where the heart is. Home Sweet Home. There is no place like home.
But what about warm nostalgic sayings about where we work? Not so many huh. Funny that.
And to be truthful, there’s a good reason for this. For some (OK, most of us), our place of work inspires feelings of dutiful things like workloads, deadlines, and coffee machines rather than fuzzy childhood memories. But what if – and it’s a big if – what if you could create not just a place for work but a home for work?
That was the challenge that faced us at Reels in Motion when we decided to take the plunge from rented business space into purchasing our own building. If we were going to buy somewhere it had to feel like our home, not just another office space.
Just like choosing a house, choosing an office space, sorry, I mean a home for work, is a very exciting thing indeed. You start off with the wish lists and eventually narrow it down to the must-have lists. For us, we wanted to own not only a beautiful office but to have our own studio space for filming. With film studio space as limited as it is in Stoke-on-Trent, we wanted a film studio not only for Reels in Motion and our clients, but for the whole city. But finding a building with both lovely office space with loads of character AND a space large enough, quiet enough, and accessible enough for a studio proved very difficult. There are plenty of interesting office spaces in interesting buildings. But they’re all next to busy (loud) roads or don’t have the studio space. An industrial unit has the space and peace but are perhaps not right for a creative office environment.
After many months and many wasted viewings, we eventually heard about Ryan Hall in Tunstall which, within an instant of seeing it, was deemed simply perfect for us. It even looked like a cinema! The fabulous dance hall, with its memories of slow waltz’s, quick steps, and banging disco’s, was the most incredible space for our own brand of creative rhythms – the moving image. And the downstairs bar area, despite its proximity to the busy Boulevard was as quiet as a mouse – although judging by some of the stories we’ve heard about the place, it was not always thus.
Now I’m a nostalgic sort of guy, and being Not Originally From The City™, I was a little concerned we would be seen as Johnny-come-lately’s bulldozing over the memories of parties and gatherings past. I could not have been more wrong. We have received the warmest of warm responses from the truest of true Tunstall community members. The general feeling is one of happiness that the old place will be used and loved again.
And that it certainly will. After a year of renovations – led by the vision and hard work of Reels’ Co-Founder, Matt Hubbard – we are finally approaching the completion of the work. Although it is no longer called Ryan Hall – it is now The Production House – we have kept and utilised as much of the original features and atmosphere as possible. We have a stunning open plan office where the original dance floor still sits, and the floor features a large film studio and event room for hire as well as creative space for up to three other businesses to join us – in what we hope will be seen as a creative hub within the city and region. It’s not just an office, or a studio, or a new creative space. It’s our new home. And you know what? All those sayings are right. Home is where the heart is.