The Theatres Trust

Little Germany Theatre/The New Bradford Playhouse

  • Theatre ID
    2253
  • Built / Converted
    1937
  • Dates of use
    • 1937: Continuing
  • Current state
    Extant
  • Current use
    Theatre
  • Address
    4 Chapel Street, Little Germany, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 5DL, England
  • Website

Details

Bradford Playhouse Company was established in 1929, playing in the Jowett Hall. This was a Temperance Hall of 1837, converted to a cinema in 1910. It burned down in 1935, and a new theatre was built on the same site. Named after J B Priestley who had donated royalties, the Priestley Theatre was opened in 1937 by Barry Jackson. From the beginning, it was a dual-purpose theatre and cinema. A fire in 1996 destroyed the stage and damaged the auditorium and foyers. The theatre reopened after restoration with a rebuilt stage in 1997. The building is on the side of a steep hill approached by six deep steps from a narrow pavement. The facade is very simple, a little reminiscent of the London Whitehall but with applied metal ornament. There is a small foyer, and spacious bar in the basement. The auditorium is plain, with a balcony of eight rows under a barrel vault ceiling. The balcony front is flat with horizontal ribbed ornament, and end projections. The ceiling slopes down over the stalls towards a rectangular proscenium, flanked by fluted quarter columns without caps or bases. The Studio theatre is a wedge-shaped space with a capacity of seventy. Bradford Playhouse relaunched in 2009, as a community-focussed multi-disciplinary arts centre. The company went into liquidation in 2011, and the liquidator's tenant re-branded the theatre as the Little Germany Theatre and refurbished and re-named the Isherwood Studio in early 2012. The theatre was again relaunched in October 2012 as The New Bradford Playhouse.


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Basement of The Priestley Centre for the Arts, Bradford, 1998
© Ian Grundy

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Auditorium of The Priestley Centre for the Arts, Bradford, 1998
© Ian Grundy


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Auditorium of The Priestley Centre for the Arts, Bradford, 1998
© Ian Grundy

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Auditorium of The Priestley Centre for the Arts, Bradford, 1998
© Ian Grundy


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Auditorium of Bradford Playhouse, 1994
© Ian Grundy

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Auditorium of Bradford Playhouse, 1994
© Ian Grundy

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  • Other names
    Priestley, Civic, Playhouse and Film Theatre, Priestley Centre for the Arts, New Bradford Playhouse, Bradford Playhouse, Little Germany Theatre
  • Events
    • 1937 Use: Continuing
    • 1937 Design/Construction:
      • Eric Morley - Architect
    • 1997 Alteration: Stage rebuilt; auditorium reinstated after fire
      • David Quick of VJQ Ltd - Architect
    • 2011 Owner/Management: Rob Walters/Be Wonderful Ltd, lessee
    • 2012 Alteration: Refurbishment of studio theatre
    • 2012 Owner/Management: Takeover Events & Theatre Ltd, lessee
    • 2014 Owner/Management: Colin Fine, owner
  • Capacities
    • Original: 299
    • Current: 291
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • Proscenium flat
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: Depth: 4.27m Width SL: 5.95m SR: 5.95m
    • Proscenium width: 7.01m
    • Height to grid: 7.31m
    • Orchestra pit: None
  • Unreliable anecdotes
    Bradford Playhouse Company was established 1929, performing in Jowett Hall. Date of present building frequently stated to be 1929 but not true

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