The Showroom and Workstation were created as part of an innovative regeneration project spearheaded by Sheffield City Council to address the devasting effects of the demise of the steel industries and increased unemployment in Sheffield.
Following the successful development of Red Tape Studios as a pilot project in the late 1980’s as a municipal music rehearsal and recording studio development with managed workspace. The dilapidated Kennings building on Paternoster Row was identified as the potential home for a new creative media centre which would provide managed workspace for the creative industries.
The 1930s Kennings building had been a car garage and showroom. It was in need of repair and modernisation and had in fact, been earmarked for demolition to become a car park. Architects were engaged to develop exciting new plans for the building which would include not only office spaces and creative facilities but also would house another cultural asset for the city; the independent Showroom Cinema.
The Showroom was developed over a eight year period. In 1989 Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre Limited was set up as an independent registered charity with educational objectives. In order to raise the capital required to refurbish the dilapidated Kennings building a wholly owned subsidiary was established – Paternoster Limited as a commercial company which continues to be the main trading operation of our company.
In 1990, a 125 year lease was secured for the building and the first phase of the development commenced which incurred capital costs of £10m. This was met through grant support from Foundation for Sports and the Arts, Sheffield City Council, ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and IIA (Industrial Improvement Area grant).
The Workstation opened it’s doors to it’s first tenant in July 1993 and has since operated at near full capacity. Within the Head Lease there are restrictive clauses that the management workspace can only be occupied by companies involved in the cultural and media industries or related support industries. This ensures that within the building there is a cluster of like-minded companies that can work together and support each other.
Located in the Workstation are companies working in film and television production, web and graphic design, computer games development, public relations, photography, publishing, radio, music, dance and digital arts. Recent research commissioned by the Workstation indicated that the building supports around 600 jobs. Click here to find out more about current tenants
Showroom Doors Open
Alongside the development of the Workstation, the Showroom gradually took form as a luxury four screen cinema complex from 1993-1997. The development was completed with the opening of the cinema’s café/bar, providing a popular place for people to meet and eat and catering facilities to support the Workstation and conferencing services. Ambitious in scale, the Showroom is one of the biggest independent cinema’s in Europe and shows a vibrant programme of films and education activities throughout the year as well as hosting national and international festivals.