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Threatened New Bradford Playhouse saved by private buyer

The auditorium of the New Bradford Playhouse
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The New Bradford Playhouse’s future as a performance venue has been secured after being bought by a local enthusiast.

It was set to be auctioned off by liquidators Clough and Co, in whose hands the theatre has been since 2011.

It has now been saved by Bradford resident Colin Fine, who has bought the venue from Clough and Co for an undisclosed sum.

Megan Murray, from the Friends of the Bradford Playhouse, said: “It’s nice to feel positive about moving forwards. Not knowing where you sit is scary, so it’s good to feel there are people in Bradford that want to keep the Playhouse going as much as we do.”

Playwright JB Priestley was president of the theatre between 1932 and 1984, when he donated royalties towards the maintenance of the Playhouse as a community asset, a legacy the theatre’s management is keen to continue.

Clare Gadsby, director of Takeover Events Ltd, which has been managing the venue since 2012 during its time in liquidation, said: “The theatre is enormously important as
a part of Bradford, and the history of JB Priestley is massively prevalent here. There’s a lot of grassroots artistic things going on, and it’s important for us to have a community hub where everyone can get stuck in and involved.”

The Playhouse had been on the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk register until 2013, and management was unable to invest in the building while its fate remained uncertain.

“It needs a lot of work. It needs disabled access and all these other things it doesn’t have, but now is the time when we can start addressing those,” said Gadsby.

“We’re now in the position that we can apply for various funding and grants. I’m looking forward to applying for those and being able to regenerate the building and keep it for the future,” she added.

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