Bradford has a rich history in the theatrical arts, as the city that inspired and encouraged novelist and playwright J.B. Priestley, with a centuries-old legacy of bringing large touring shows to the North. It’s therefore only fitting that there is no shortage of theatres in Bradford. Recently, the city has been made a producing hub. This influx of opportunity and life into Bradford’s live performance scene is designed to turn the city into a creative oasis where live performance is continually being generated.
At the centre of Bradford’s theatre scene is the monumental Alhambra. This centuries-old auditorium is unlike anything else in Yorkshire. It is the only place where you’ll find West End shows, international touring dance and re-imaginings of thespian classics under one roof. The anticipation and excitement you feel when walking through the doors of the Alhambra reflects the special energy of live performance, which can’t be replicated through a screen.
Bradford is a city with a wealth of Asian culture, from music to dance and contemporary theatre. Kala Sangam is bringing traditional art forms into contemporary relevance as well as supporting and commissioning a new generation of artists. If you’re sticking around Bradford they also offer dance and music lessons for those wanting to get into performing.
For something a little more fringe, Theatre in the Mill is a must. This small but experimental space is the place to go to catch Edinburgh previews, shows in development and touring new work. Whatever you end up watching, you can expect to be challenged, charmed and made to ask questions.
For more local talent, try the Bradford Playhouse: this medium-sized venue in the heart of the city centre hosts a mixture of professional and amateur productions ranging from pantomime to gritty kitchen sink drama and beyond. Finally, although it isn’t strictly a theatre, St George’s Hall is a great place to catch stand-up in Bradford. As an interchangeable venue, the intimacy of the space is really made use of when a comedian is trying to whip up an atmosphere.
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