Sherlock star to open Lewes Depot

Martin Freeman is to open Lewes Depot later this month. Wikimedia Commons image.
Martin Freeman is to open Lewes Depot later this month. Wikimedia Commons image.

The actor Martin Freeman is to officially open the Depot cinema in Lewes later this month, organisers say.

Lewes Community Screen, the charity behind the project say Mr Freeman, who stars as Doctor Watson in the hit show Sherlock and played Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, will launch the venue at a private event at the new cinema in Lewes on Thursday, May 25.

Other guests are expected to include Greta Scacchi, Peter Firth, James Wilby and William Nicholson.

The project has taken four years to come to fruition, involving an £8 million refurbishment of the former Harvey’s Depot warehouse adjacent to the railway station in Lewes town centre.

The charity purchased the site in 2013 from Harvey’s Brewery and have since transformed it into a major arts venue. In addition to film screenings the charity promises the venue will feature theatre and live music.

The cinema was granted its licence by Lewes District Council this week following a meeting on Tuesday May, 9. The application had proven controversial with several local residents who raised noise concerns.

As a result of the concerns the cinema withdrew part of its application, which had asked for non-standard opening hours.

In making their decision councillors say they took account of the concerns of the local residents who had made representations about the impact of noise and public nuisance if the application was granted. It also noted the representations made about how the hours applied for would impact on the licensable objective of the prevention of public nuisance.

The Depot will open to the general public on Saturday, May 27 with a three-day festival of 25 films including silent films and classics, new movies such as “Sense of an Ending” and “Their Finest” and critically acclaimed mainstream movies such as “Logan” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

There will be many future events including guest speakers, festivals, discussion groups and workshops.

The building has been built to high specifications, encasing the former warehouse in a glass surround but retaining the features of the original building. An area termed “The Gallery” features a major installation by artist Stephen Chambers called “The Big Country”.