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Children's TV firm is moving as workforce set to treble

By Margaret Canning

Published 11/02/2016

Colin Williams of SixteenSouth with Sesame Tree characters Potto, Hilda and Claribelle
Colin Williams of SixteenSouth with Sesame Tree characters Potto, Hilda and Claribelle
Lily's Driftwood Bay

An award-winning kids' TV production company will treble its number of employees after it moves to bigger premises.

SixteenSouth, which has won awards for Lily's Driftwood Bay and Sesame Tree - a co-production with the US team behind Sesame Street - is moving into 46 Bedford Street in Belfast.

Colin Williams, creative director and founder of SixteenSouth, said: "We are hugely excited about relocating to our new studio in Bedford Street.

"It marks the beginning of a new chapter in our company's growth and of our commitment to Belfast."

The company, which is currently based at Linenhall Street in the city centre, will make the move later this month.

Commercial property agents Lisney secured the letting of the 7,500 sq ft building at 46 Bedford Street on behalf of the owner, described as "a private client".

And SixteenSouth, which currently employs 20 people, plans to treble its workforce in the next few months as it starts work on new productions.

Mr Williams said: "All aspects of our children's TV shows are made in-house, from pre-production to post-production and every stage in between.

"We had reached capacity at our current studio and needed about three times more space to facilitate our operations, which are continually expanding."

He added the firm had taken inspiration from the name of its first address, 16 Donegall Square South.

And he said the former usage of its new home as a linen manufacturer presented a fitting parallel.

"It's apt that the same building is home now to one of the new industries, which I hope will benefit the city in the same way," Mr Williams said.

David McNellis, director at Lisney Belfast, said: "It was a real privilege to assist SixteenSouth on its relocation to Bedford Street and help facilitate the company's expansion.

"The building is steeped in Belfast's history while also in fantastic condition and has a really contemporary feel - perfect for such a vibrant and fast-growing company.

"As SixteenSouth produces all content in-house, the premises had to be able to cater for their varied requirements, which included a range of recording studios and office space with room to seat around 90 people."

SixteenSouth announced last week that its animation Lily's Driftwood Bay - which features the voice of Ardal O'Hanlon - was a finalist in the Prix Jeunesse competition in France.

The show was nominated in the pre-school animation category of the Bafta's Children's Awards last year but lost out to The Clangers.

Another of its productions, Big City Park, won a Scottish Bafta for best children's programme in 2011 and found success when it won an Irish Film and TV Award for best animation just last year.

SixteenSouth is one of a handful of animation firms operating in Northern Ireland. Dublin-based Jam Media also employs 40 people here on shows such as Tilly and Friends.

Belfast Telegraph

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