Bradford Alhambra

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Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Alhambra, Bradford.jpg
AddressMorley Street
OwnerBradford City Council (General manager-Adam Renton)
Designationlisted building Grade II
TypeProfessional Theatre
Current useTheatre
Years active1914–present
ArchitectChadwick and Watson of Leeds

The Alhambra Theatre is a theatre in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, named after the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, which was the place of residence of the Emir of the Emirate of Granada. It was built in 1913 at a cost of £20,000 for theatre impresario Francis Laidler, and opened on Wednesday 18 March 1914. In 1964, Bradford City Council bought the Alhambra for £78,900 and in 1974, it was designated a Grade II listed building. It underwent extensive refurbishment in 1986. Today it is a receiving house for large-scale touring theatre of all types and the main house seats 1,456.


Francis Laidler, who already owned two music halls in Bradford, opened the new Alhambra Theatre in 1914. The architects were Chadwick and Watson, who described it as "English renaissance of the Georgian period".[1]


The building is recognisable for its large domed turret with giant-paired Corinthian columns,[2] an iconic landmark on the Bradford skyline together with the complementary domes on the adjacent, disused Bradford Odeon. Behind this, the building is stepped up, culminating in tall square towers with smaller domes.

It is situated on a sloping site amongst other Bradford landmarks – the National Media Museum, aforementioned Bradford Odeon, the former Windsor Baths building and Bradford City Park. The entrance to the building is on the corner on the other side of the building to the dome and has a distinctive iron and glass canopy.[2]

Elsewhere, the exterior is faced in white faience, which has now been painted white and grey.[2] The faience was produced by Gibbs and Canning of Tamworth.

Inside, the auditorium consists of two tiers, a balcony and an aisle. It is highly decorated with plasterwork. There is moulded plasterwork to the curved balcony fronts and elliptically bowed balconies to the boxes, which are situated in round arched openings with giant fluted Corinthian columns. The circular auditorium ceiling is decorated and has a small rectangular dome to centre. There is a rectangular proscenium arch.[2]


The Alhambra is part of the Bradford Theatres group, which also includes St. George's Hall and King's Hall, Ilkley.

The theatre is also a member of the Dance Consortium, a group of theatres who collaborate to bring international dance theatre to the UK.[3]


Main house[edit]

The 1,400 capacity main house is a major touring venue and hosts a wide range of stage shows from ballet and opera to variety and comedy, musicals, drama and, of course, the annual pantomime. Regular visits are made from prestigious companies such as Opera North, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Matthew Bourne's New Adventures and the Royal National Theatre to complement spectacular West End musicals such as Grease, Miss Saigon, Whistle Down the Wind and The Phantom of the Opera.[3] Wicked started its world tour at the Alhambra Theatre in 2016

Studio Theatre[edit]

The complex also houses a smaller studio theatre, with seating for 200, or standing room for 300. This is mainly used for new comedy, including tours by Alun Cochrane, Tom Stade & Patrick Monahan.[4]


In 2012 a new restaurant, called "Restaurant 1914" was opened at the top of the Alhambra theatre, with views overlooking Bradford City Park.[5] This new restaurant, headed by head chef John Monkhouse and senior bars and catering manager Marc Johannson, was constructed at a cost of £250,000 and has more than doubled the dining capacity of the theatre.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sheeran 2005, p. 88.
  2. ^ a b c d Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1314554)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b "About the Alhambra Theatre..." Bradford Theatres. Archived from the original on 18 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  4. ^ "About the Studio..." Bradford Theatres. Archived from the original on 18 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Hospitality at Bradford Theatres". Bradford Theatres. Retrieved 15 April 2013.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°47′30″N 1°45′25″W / 53.79167°N 1.75694°W / 53.79167; -1.75694