Welcome to the website for The Elstree Project

The Elstree Project is an on-going oral history and research project, originally created in partnership between Howard Berry of the University of Hertfordshire and local volunteer group Elstree Screen Heritage. Since 2016 the project has solely been run by the University.

Beginning in September 2010, veterans of major film and TV productions have been interviewed about their careers and life in the film industry. We have recorded interviews, hosted and organised screenings of films made at Elstree in three ‘Elstree Film Seasons’ and we have made our own films from the content in our interviews.  Recently we worked with UH Arts to deliver a series of ‘Elstree Originals’ film screenings with live Q&A sessions with cast and crew, in partnership with StudioCanal and Elstree Studios.

We love all the stories told by the stars and the directors, but we also want to tell the stories that you don’t normally get to hear. That’s why our interviews span from director Steven Spielberg to actors and crew members — everyone’s role and everyone’s story is unique and important. In the course of making these interviews we have discovered tales about what it really was like to work with Roger Moore on The Saint, how the backdrops were matted in for Ivanhoe, and what Elizabeth Taylor’s response was when one of the crew suggested her diamond engagement ring was from Woolworths!

We have found out about how Darth Vader’s costume was painted for Star Wars, the craft of cinematography from the cameraman on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and just quite how much attention you need to pay to continuity from the script supervisor on The Shining. And we also have discovered some amazing stories that no one has ever heard, including a heartbreaking story about the temporary closure of Elstree Studios in the 1990s. We want to share these stories with you.

The project not only records interviews and holds public events, but seeks to create new academic research about Elstree and Borehamwood’s studios.  We are in the process of creating digital VR recreations of several of the studios, as many have been demolished or substantially changed over the past 100 years.  We give academic papers, contribute to conferences and speak at major events.  Most recently we were invited to give the second annual Stanley Kubrick lecture at the Design Museum.

The Elstree Project will interest fans of film and television from the 1920s to the present day.