Show goes on as historic playhouse is taken off at-risk register (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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New Bradford Playhouse is removed from at-risk register after couple’s hard work revives venue
A Bradford theatre has been removed from an ‘at risk’ register, completing a “rollercoaster” year for the couple that run it.
Jono Gadsby and his wife Clare, both 31, from Pudsey, took over the running of the New Bradford Playhouse last October.
And, thanks to hard work and passion, they say the future of the four-storey building in Chapel Street, Little Germany, looks distinctly rosier than in the recent past.
The couple’s dedication paid off as it was announced yesterday that the theatre is not on the 2013 Theatre Buildings at risk register. It is one of seven theatres no longer on the list.
“It is fantastic,” said Mr Gadsby, who is artistic director. “We took over last October. We were frustrated because the doors were closed.
“Our goal was to open the doors and allow it to be used by the community and the artistic community.
“And now, because it has been so well-supported, it has come off the register. There is such a vibrancy here, which is why they do not consider it under threat.”
He added: “It has been a rollercoaster of a year because there has been so much demand for the building. It is great that Bradford has an outlet for what is a lot of artistic talent.”
Mr Gadsby said a host of acts and shows have signed up to perform over the coming months, including Pickwick Papers starring former EastEnders actor Dean Gaffney, John D Collins of comedy ’Allo ’Allo, and Rebecca Wheatley from Casualty.
Others lined up include Drama Unlimited, No Hands, the Bradford Players’ pantomime, and burlesque act Heidi Bang Tidy.
Mr Gadsby said: “We are currently the most programmed theatre in Bradford, with more events than any other. It shows the support and need for the building.
“There has been this influx of artistic people who are desperate to use the space.”
He added: “We are really stoked that the names that are well-known TV people and well-known in the industry are willing to come and perform here and support us. It gives us a sense of achievement.”
The building, which is home to a 290-seat art deco theatre, a cinema, two bars that double up as cabaret and music space, rehearsal space, and a black box studio, is still currently up for sale.
Mr Gadsby said the theatre needs support from the Arts Council or Bradford Council in the shape of funding to allow them to take the building off the market, adding that a bid to the Arts Council was in the process of being drawn up.
“We are confident that the building has got a need,” he said. “We are confident it has an audience and that the artistic programme we have got is the right one.
“It is still technically up for sale, but the building is secure. We are going through the process of finding a buyer.”
Meanwhile, the former Odeon building in Bradford city centre has been added to the list.
Bradford Council, which has bought the site from the Home and Communities Agency for a peppercorn price, is inviting groups to put forward ideas about its future use.