Coleg y Cymoedd welcomes star studded line-up of film professionals to support the next generation of creative talent

Written by on 14th June 2023

A South Wales college is set to welcome a cohort of famous film industry professionals to run exclusive workshops and masterclasses for aspiring young screen sector creatives this July.

Off the back of the successful His Dark Materials exhibition that ran in March, seeing over 1,000 visitors, Coleg y Cymoedd’s brand new Make! programme will open to the public this summer to highlight career opportunities and emerging technologies in film, such as creature effects, digital technologies and costume construction through a range of practical workshops, lectures, and industry engagement from leading professionals.

The sessions will be run by renowned industry professionals including famous puppeteer William Todd-Jones (Harry Potter, Batman, His Dark Materials), illustrator and puppeteer couple Brian and Wendy Froud (Star Wars, The Muppets, Dark Crystal), and Eliot Gibbins (His Dark Materials), and costume designer Rosi Flood (Pirates of the Caribbean, Apostle) who will be on hand to share their expertise and provide an exclusive insight into film’s creative sector.

Seven workshops and a masterclass with Brian Froud will take place from the 3rd to the 8th of July at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus, providing those with an interest in the film sector with the opportunity to learn from the best in the industry, while also getting a feel for what working within it could be like.

Open to the public aged 16 and above, apart from creature effects (14+), the workshops will focus on the screen sector as a whole, providing valuable insight for new talent and current industry members to upskill and learn more sustainable and creative techniques.

The series of free bookable workshops and masterclasses will enable individuals to take part in one or two-day practical sessions, demonstrations, and lectures in a variety of screen sector areas, from creature effects and costume construction to 3D printing, moulding, and casting.

Alistair Aston, course leader and creative industries co-ordinator at Coleg y Cymoedd, has been working closely with industry partners to bring the Make! programme to fruition and promote access to creative careers in the film sector.

He said:

“We are passionate about developing a Centre of Excellence for film at TV at Coleg y Cymoedd, specifically within the fields of robotics, prop making and visual effects.  Our goal is to create an innovative industry leading resource made up of active studios and professional skills training facilities.

“After the huge success of our His Dark Materials exhibition and masterclasses, we’ve seen so much genuine interest from young people in the local communities here in South Wales that we want to continue providing them with opportunities and access to creative careers within film. Wales has a thriving film industry, and our missions is to showcase and build upon that with projects like the Make! programme.”

Eliot Gibons, His Dark Materials creature effects workshop manager added:

“We are excited to be involved with Coleg y Cymoedd and the host of wonderful makers involved in this project. This is a must for anyone who is interested in the world of making things with traditional and cutting-edge technologies.

Coleg y Cymoedd continue to deliver a high standard of learning for hard to access areas like this, which I’m confident can only result in further benefiting the successful screen sector here in Wales.”

Wales’ film industry has continued to grow year-on-year, with blockbuster productions like Sex Education, Willow, Havoc and His Dark Materials all being filmed in the country in the last couple of years. However, while the sector has generated over £155 million for the Welsh economy since 2020 (1), it continues to see skills shortages.

South Wales Valleys born William Todd-Jones, puppeteer and Make! workshop leader, said: “For the Welsh entertainment industry to build on recent successes, it will need hundreds of able individuals who can take up the hammer, screwdriver, blow-dryer, camera, microphone, mouse, or whatever tool their department uses to help the production tell its story. ‘Make!’ will give an insight into some of the specialist day-to-day workings – the other side of camera.”

Alistair added: “Our film sector needs more industry-ready workers, and this is something that HE and FE providers like Coleg y Cymoedd can support and help tackle by delivering courses and pathway opportunities, with the help of industry professionals, for young people in Wales.”

Coleg y Cymoedd plans to use the Make! Programme and the insight it gains from industry partners to help it develop new courses, programmes and apprenticeships, to support more learners into film careers.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s Make! Programme will take place at its Nantgarw campus, opening times:

Monday 3rd July – 10am – 4pm

Tuesday 4th July – 10am – 4pm

Wednesday 5th July – 10am – 4pm, 7pm – 9pm

Thursday 6th July – 10am – 4pm

Friday 7th July – 10am – 4pm

Saturday 8th July – 10am – 1pm

For further information on specific workshop and masterclass times, and to book your free slot for an exhibition, workshop, or masterclass, visit:

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