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Iconic Bradford theatre up for auction
6:26am Tuesday 24th June 2014 in News
An iconic Bradford theatre building is set to go under the hammer at auction.
The Bradford Playhouse is among the lots at the Eddisons sale at Leeds United FC's Elland Road on July 10. It is being offered on the instructions of the liquidators, Clough and Co, at a guide price of at least £175,000.
It is described as a vacant theatre premises with bars, studios, stores, and a 290-seat auditorium. Eddisons say it is within the Little Germany conservation area and is approximately 1,561 square metres in size.
A spokesman for Takeover Events Ltd, which took control of the Playhouse in 2012, said: "A sale in such a form could be catastrophic for the future development of the Playhouse as a theatre and arts space."
Jonno Gadsby, artistic director at the Playhouse, said Takeover hopes to raise the funds to buy the building. He added: "As a company we are sustainable. The liquidator has just decided to sell the building."
Since moving into the building on Chapel Street, Takeover has started to transform the theatre. It now has a varied programme of theatre, music and artistic events, as well as bookings going into next year.
The Takeover spokesman said the company would continue to trade and is not entering into any kind of administration.
Mr Gadsby added: "An auction indicates that they are willing to accept a much lower offer. We are hoping that this reduction in price will bring the building into a price bracket we can afford. We want to secure the building so you can have a future in using it.
"Owning the building will cure the stalemate that we currently find ourselves in terms of funding. Raising the funds to buy the building will prove that there is community support for the Playhouse and to justify it being given the funding it desperately needs."
Megan Murray, chairman of the Friends of Bradford Playhouse group, said: "Time is now limited for the future of the Bradford Playhouse – If you have ever performed, experienced or enjoyed the wonderful shows, music and art in this building please act now. We need the support of everyone in the city."
To donate or sign the group's petition, visit www.thenewbradfordplayhouse.co.uk
Mr Gadsby added: "At the New Bradford Playhouse, we believe we are far beyond just ‘a space to hire’. We may curate the spaces, offer mentorship and organise the shows and events, but all these elements are secondary to the larger community resource which is a professional theatre space for all. We are committed to continue to provide a facility for this kind of activity, as there is no equivalent sized or resourced space in Bradford."
Tomorrow, Bradford West Area Committee will hear a nomination to list the building as an Asset of Community Value. If it is recommended, it would allow the Playhouse team more time to prepare its bid for the property.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council's portfolio holder for Employment, Skills And Culture, said: "Bradford Playhouse is a significant part of Bradford's cultural history. The current tenants sound to be doing a good job. I hope that given more time they can raise the money to achieve their vision."
Tony Webber, of Eddisons, said: "This is an iconic building in an area which is set for a new lease of life once the nearby Westfield site is completed, a fact that I am sure will attract the attention of investors and developers."
Clough and Co were unavailable for comment.
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