Stephen’s scarily good business idea

A spooked Sue Kirk, of UK Steel Enterprise, with Stephen Tate, of Imaginative Productions
A spooked Sue Kirk, of UK Steel Enterprise, with Stephen Tate, of Imaginative Productions

A SUCCESSFUL Hartlepool company is branching out – and starting up a spin-off firm making giant sets.

Town firm Restoration Force, in Tees Road, on the Graythorp Industrial Estate, has been going strong for more than 20 years. Its team of 11 workers specialise in clean-up operations after disasters and floods all over the UK.

But now it is branching out to form another company called Imaginative Productions. It makes giant sets and its very first creation is based on Halloween with others following with a Christmas and Easter outlook.

Imaginative Productions is based in the UK Steel Enterprises Innovation Centre, in Kirkleatham, using skills gathered by the Hartlepool workforce.

Their first production will see 40 actors play out roles on the set which has been created in Kirkleatham Woods at Redcar.

Restoration Force owner Stephen Tate said: “This type of large-scale event is hugely popular in America and I saw a gap in the market to bring them to the North-East.

“I was also looking for a spin-off business that would demand the skills we have available in the 11-strong team at Restoration Force. The new company is helping to secure their jobs, as there can be quieter times, and means we can also provide additional seasonal jobs.

“We are expecting a good response to the Halloween extravaganza as similar events elsewhere have attracted as many as 1,000 people a night and we already have people showing interest from as far afield as the Scottish Borders.”

Sue Kirk of UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, said: “We have a wide range of businesses represented in our Innovation Centres but it is definitely the first time we have seen a derelict graveyard and full-size village taking shape in one of our workshops.”