Norwich cinema heritage centre to be named after actor Sir John Hurt

PUBLISHED: 08:20 25 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:20 25 July 2016

John Hurt at Cinema City in Norwich. Credit: Simon Buck

John Hurt at Cinema City in Norwich. Credit: Simon Buck

Contact Simon Buck

The new screen heritage and film education centre at Norwich’s Cinema City is to be named after actor Sir John Hurt.

Guy Martin, manager at Cinema City Education, in the new John Hurt Studio at Cinema City. Photo: Steve Adams.Guy Martin, manager at Cinema City Education, in the new John Hurt Studio at Cinema City. Photo: Steve Adams.

The centre, which is part of the Norfolk at the Pictures project and due to open in September, will be called the John Hurt Studio in honour of Sir John’s great support of the project.

Sir John, a resident of north Norfolk, is patron of Cinema City Ltd, the film education charity based at the St Andrew’s Street cinema and which has championed the whole £810,000 Norfolk at the Pictures campaign to celebrate the history of the silver screen in our county.

The new John Hurt Studio aims to make the film education and community activities at Cinema City more accessible to people of all ages, from school children learning about film history to older people taking part in reminiscence sessions.

Sir John, whose many films include The Elephant Man and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, has been supportive of Norfolk at the Pictures since it began, launching the fundraising campaign in 2014 and more recently narrating the project’s documentary film The Final Reel.

Norfolk at the Pictures

The opening of the John Hurt Studio, designed by Norfolk based architect Charles Emberson, will mark the culmination of Cinema City Ltd’s Norfolk at the Pictures project to preserve and share Norfolk’s cinema heritage.

Since the project began in August 2014, hundreds of people across Norfolk have taken part in events and contributed memories, documents and stories.

Two cinema heritage walk booklets have been produced for Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

A Norfolk at the Pictures commemorative magazine has been published, in partnership with Archant, and a documentary film called The Final Reel has been created.

The £810,000 project has been funded primarily by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £541,000, together with significant contributions from local and national charities, Picturehouse Cinemas and numerous individual donations.

The website provides a permanent archive for the Norfolk at the Pictures project.

He said: “Film has played a major part in my life and I am a great believer in the power of the moving image to educate and inspire and improve people’s lives. It is marvellous to see this new facility come to fruition and a delight and an honour to have my name associated with it. I am sure that it will be an inspiring space for people in Norfolk to take part in the courses, workshops and film education activities provided by Cinema City Education.”

Guy Martin, manager of Cinema City Education, paid tribute to Sir John’s “astounding energy” for the Norfolk at the Pictures project, and spoke of his excitement about the John Hurt Studio opening in September.

“For Cinema City Education it is going to transform the work we do and the number of people we work with, and hopefully deepen their engagement with this region’s rich cinema heritage,” he said.

The new John Hurt Studio features state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment as well as displays highlighting cinema history. It has been designed to be fully accessible for all, with a new entrance and lift, level floors, and toilets that have disabled access. As well as hosting a range of film education related activities, screenings, talks and workshops, it will also be available for private hire.

Philip Easter, chairman of Cinema City Ltd, said: “Sir John has been a long time supporter of the film education work that our charity does and we are thrilled that he has agreed to let us name our new education facilities after him as a mark of our appreciation.”

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