A New Space For New Beginnings


Since Norwegian Creative Studios became the in-house production company for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, we’ve seen the christening of six new Norwegian ships, we became the largest producer of Broadway shows at sea, and we acquired Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. In what seemed like no time at all, we went from ten ships to a mega fleet of twenty-eight ships and over thirty-six individual casts. This rapid growth made for a Piccadilly Circus of rehearsal periods with early morning and late night calls for most of our casts. Thank the stars, these congested workspaces will soon be a thing of the past.

In 2016, Ian Harvey, Director of Theatrical Production and Facilities started looking into different expansion solutions to meet the entertainment growth needs of NCLH. Many ideas were thrown around, from larger warehouse facilities in the Tampa area to the more favorable; a large campus style facility near a larger international airport. Ian and a team from Miami searched the country for viable locations however, with the wheels of progress never slowing, building this new space within the timeframe needed seemed improbable. As luck would have it, in late 2018, we learned that our neighbors at the Tampa rehearsal studios were planning to vacate their offices. If we could expand into their side of the complex, we would then take the entire business block opening up a ton of space we didn’t have before. This fortunate turn of events would give us a temporary resolution to our space issue, whilst the planning and searching for a dedicated entertainment campus could continue.

Once we received confirmation that the space next door would, indeed, be ours, Ian partnered with our Miami Construction team and began the architectural designs, which took 6 months to complete. The team wanted to make sure that we maximized use of the new space and, in doing so, decided to move the corporate and contractor offices to a newly built second level, leaving the entire first level for new studios, music rooms, and more. “Finding an outside of the box solution was key to maximizing space. Aligning our music, break and classrooms together gave us the headroom we needed to build a level above them and dedicate the ground floor to a much needed creative space.” Ian stated.

What took six months to design, only took seven months to build and the final touches are now being made. The new space includes four larger dance studios. (two of which can combine to make one mega space for the Leonardo Class ship rehearsals). There are four new music studios that are double the size of the current music rooms. The new music rooms are heavily insulated for sound and can be used as recording spaces if needed. For our Operations Department, there’s now a dedicated classroom for training/meetings, as well as an infirmary space for vaccines and other small medical treatments. There’s also a new office space in the rehearsal area, so that cast members can meet with management without coming up to the corporate offices. For cast members, there’s a new breakroom, vending area, and a new set of restrooms.

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This expansion was essential to our operation and is only the beginning of where we’re headed as an ever-growing production company. The timing and funding of this new build can’t be described any other way but ‘perfect’. Everything was paid for and approved before the pandemic brought our company’s momentum to a halt. Like this pandemic, the pause in our operation is temporary. New ships are still in the works for all three brands and the company is looking toward our bright future. Ian stately added, “Although this expansion is only a temporary fix, a seam adjustment as it were, whilst we grow, there has been much care and thought put into the process to make sure the needs of all departments are met and the studios remain a safe and creative place our casts and crew can be proud of.”

Here's to a new space and new beginnings. We look forward to seeing you again soon.