The popularity of theatres as entertainment is seen across cultures throughout the centuries. Here, you can find the best theatres in Bradford.
Theatre is for all – from wealthy to poor, educated to working-class people. The extraordinary live shows and pure fun of theatre have provided joy and escape to individuals of all classes and societies through the ages.
1. 3 Best Theatres in Bradford
Bradford, a city in England (UK), is especially famous for becoming the first UNESCO film city in 2009. So it’s not surprising that a place with that honour is the home to some of the most excellent theatres in the world.
If visiting Bradford is on your bucket list, you must know about the theatres where you can enjoy the city’s spirit and essence. Here are some of the most famous working theatres that provide unmatched entertainment for their visitors.
1.1. Alhambra Theatre
Alhambra Theatre is on Morley Street in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Chadwick and Watson established Alhambra in 1914. Since then, the theatre has proudly hosted many entertainment programs such as ballet, opera, musicals, drama, comedy shows, and yearly pantomimes.
Moreover, iconic visitors to this theatre include the Royal Shakespeare Company, Disney Theatrical, and the National Theatre. The faculties of the place and the excellent quality of the programme secure Alhambra Theatre’s position as a source of pride in the city as well as the country.
1.2. St. George’s Hall
The famous St. George’s Hall theatre is at Bridge Street in Bradford. Lockwood and Mawson constructed it in 1853. Initially, this was a public hall for speeches, performances, and concerts. Though the Hall had 3,500 seats originally, today’s capacity is almost half.
The theatre’s interior was rebuilt after World War II. Later, it became a full-time cinema theatre.
Among the top performances of St. George’s Hall are highlights such as Charles Dickens, Edwin Waugh, and Henry Irving.
Furthermore, legendary bands and artists like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Free, David Bowie, and more.
1.3. Bradford Civic Playhouse
B. Priestley, the famous novelist and playwright, was the president from 1932 to 1984. Despite the challenges due to the destruction of this theatre, it continues as a living theatre.
2. Special Mentions: Theatres in Bradford
The theatres in Bradford are, of course, not limited to these three names. Despite their inactive status or multiple closures throughout the years, the prominence of the other theatres in Bradford is no less notable worldwide. Here are some of them that are still known for their historic significance.
2.1. The Priestley Centre for the Arts, Bradford
The Priestley Centre for the Arts is at 4-6 Chapel Street, Little Germany, Bradford, West Yorkshire. In the beginning, the names of the theatre were Bradford Civic Playhouse and Film Theatre.
The theatre was under financial crisis for some time. However, it continues to run as ‘The Bradford Playhouse’.
2.2. New Victoria Theatre
William Illingworth established the New Victoria Theatre in Prince’s Way, southeast of Bradford City, on 22 September 1930. The theatre has 3,318 seats. The three levels of seating arrangements include Stalls, Circle, and Balcony. Besides cinema, the theatre is capable of having significant live productions.
The place underwent a cycle of opening, restoration, and closure. Nonetheless, it is still one of the most well-known theatres in Bradford.
2.3. Theatre Royal, Duke Street / The Circus / Liver Theatre
Theatre Royal is on Duke Street in Bradford City. The venue was opened as the Liver Theatre in 1841. Later, Charles Rice remodelled the theatre. Then, it got the name Theatre Royal in 1844. The Circus and the Liver Theatre were the early names of this Theatre Royal.
2.4. Theatre Royal, Manningham Lane
Not to be confused with the one in Duke Street, this Theatre Royal was situated in Manningham Lane of Bradford city. Previously, its name was Alexandra Theatre in 1864. W. Morgan built the theatre as a dedication to J. B. Buckstone and Wilde.
It became ‘Theatre Royal and Opera House’, and later its auditorium became a full-time Cinema theatre. Theatre Royal Picture House was the new name for Theatre Royal.
The theatre was again closed due to bankruptcy in 1965. Later, it reopened under Irving Royal Cinema. This name change was a tribute to Mr Henry Irving, who played his last performance in this theatre in 1905. Finally, its demolition started in 1989. It continued till the formation of the Bradford Ring Road in 1990.
2.5. Empire Theatre
The Empire Theater is located on Great Horton Road in Bradford. W. G. R. Sprague designed it in 1899. Alhambra Theatre is situated near to this theatre. Messrs Howe of West Hartlepool built the Empire Theatre during 1898-99.
It is a part of the Alexandra Hotel. It had an auditorium built with three levels – Stalls, Circle, and Balcony with 2,000 seats. Empire Theatre & Opera House and The Empire Cinema were the early names of this venue.
2.6. Palace Theatre
The Palace Theatre is beneath the Prince’s Theatre at Manchester Road and Victoria Square in Bradford City. The Star Theatre and Music Hall are its former names. Jackson and Langley built the Palace Theatre in 1875.
Bradford witnessed the closure of the Palace Theatre and Prince’s Theatre in 1938 and 1961, respectively. In 1964, both the Theatres were demolished, and in their place, a garden was established. The site is now in front of the National Media Museum.
Also read: Exploring The 5 Best Theatres In Cardiff
3. The Curtain Falls
As you can see, Bradford has earned its name of The Film City rightfully. From a cultural urban centre to striking terrains and incredible heritage towns, Bradford is a perfect vacation spot for those interested in experiencing the diverse arts and cultures of our world.
Among the renowned theatres, the Alhambra conducts significant touring shows and West End productions. St George’s Hall is an exceptional concert venue. So, if you ever wish to visit this historic city, you should stop by these famous theatres in Bradford for a genuinely entertaining time.