The Theatres Trust

Little Germany Theatre/The New Bradford Playhouse

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


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

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

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

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

Auditorium of Bradford Playhouse, 1994
© Ian Grundy

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

Of the period

Side Elevation of the Little Theatre in Gadlys, Aberdare, 1995
Aberdare Little Theatre

Have you seen?

Façade of the Palace Theatre, Bridgwater, 1995
Palace (Bridgwater)

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