It’s impossible to visit Bradford without being enticed into its theatrical temple, The Alhambra. The theatre attracts visitors through its hit musicals, large scale theatrical productions, dance and not forgetting Yorkshire’s biggest pantomime. The Alhambra reminds us that a trip to the theatre is total escapism. From the moment you walk in the doors you can feel those sparks in the atmosphere, it’s a feeling of collective excitement among the audience members in anticipation of the journey on which, you’re all about to embark.
The Jewel in Bradford’s theatrical crown.
The theatre was the passion project of local impresario Francis Laidler. He spent two years building the venue before opening to the public on March 23rd 1914. The first performance was a variety show, which ran for a week. Since then, the Alhambra has become one of Yorkshire’s cultural monoliths. Not only is it usually the first northern port of call for touring West End musicals, the theatre is a member of The Dance Consortium, a group of venues who work together to bring the best in international dance to the UK.
The inside boasts a grand three tier auditorium with 1400 seats, designed by architects Chadwick and Wilson who describe the building as “an English renaissance of the Georgian period”. It still has a slightly reverential feel about it today, even when modern convenience is combined with its older, more lavish design features.
There is no better cultural combination than dinner and a show, which the Alhambra caters for beautifully. Restaurant 1914 reflects the grandeur of the auditorium alongside views of City Park and a seasonal menu with an emphasis on fresh local produce. It’s the perfect way to turn a trip to the theatre into a special event or occasion. For those preferring a lighter bite before a show, the Circle Cafe serves freshly made sandwiches, soup and cakes.
For any weekend away in Yorkshire, catching a show at the Alhambra is a must. As the jewel in Bradford’s theatrical crown, a city with a history of producing internationally acclaimed playwrights, it proudly brings touring productions to the heart of Yorkshire.