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At the end of March, stars including Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis and Naomie Harris came to the venue to film scenes for their latest movie Our Kind of Traitor. The film is an adaptation of John le Carré’s novel from a script by Hossein Amini, directed by BAFTA®-winning director, Susanna White. An English couple, Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris), are taking a holiday in Marrakech when a chance meeting with Russian millionaire (Stellan Skarsgard) propels them on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain’s Intelligence Establishment.
Adam Richards, Supervising Location Manager on the film, explained the choice of venue: “We wanted to give our world of MI5 a more contemporary feel, rather than stuffy establishment which is how it is normally portrayed, and Congress Centre fitted the bill perfectly with its striking modernist spaces.”
It’s not the first time Congress Centre has been used as a location. Eagle-eyed fans of the popular ITV medical drama, Breathless, starring Pirates of the Caribbean actor, Jack Davenport, Joanna Page of Gavin & Stacey fame and Cutting It’s Sarah Parish, which was screened in the autumn, may have spotted that Congress Centre was a key location used during the filming of the series.
Fitzrovia-based film and TV production company Big Talk Productions has also recognised the merits of the venue and recently held its eighth event at Congress Centre - a script reading for a new TV period drama. The leading central London production company has held numerous other readings at the venue for comedies including Man Up starring Simon Pegg, Youngers, Friday Night Dinner and Our Men, as the location is only a short walk from its office.
The venue is also proving popular for meetings and larger conferences; earlier in March BBC Worldwide held an event at the venue for 170 members of its UK team to update them on quarterly progress. The event was held in Congress Hall, the largest space at the venue, which was set up cabaret style for the occasion. The BBC made full use of Congress Centre’s state-of-the-art built-in AV equipment and according to Charlotte Henwood at BBC Worldwide: “The event went really well from start to finish. A big thanks to the staff for making it run smoothly. James the technician was great, the catering was delicious and the space worked extremely well for our needs.”
Robert Girvan, Centre Director at Congress Centre, commented: “The venue seems to have captured the attention of a number of film and TV production companies recently. We seem to be ticking the boxes when it comes to location, hi-tech facilities and the fact that Congress Centre has a contemporary feel with a quirky retro twist.”
The venue offers a choice of 16 flexible conference and events spaces for 2-850 people and is located in the heart of London’s West End, moments from Tottenham Court Road Underground Station and a short walk from Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Soho.