WHEN most people think of Bradford’s theatre scene they tend to think of the city’s famous Alhambra, or grand St George’s Hall.

However, on the campus of the University of Bradford lies a smaller, but much more experimental venue - the Theatre In The Mill.

Although not as well known as Bradford’s other theatres, the venue regularly attracts top talent from around the world, often for more intimate, edgy and quirky performances than would ever be found at the bigger stages.

The Theatre has just entered a new stage - over the summer Artistic Director, Iain Bloomfield, who had been working at the University since 2003, left to form his own performance company, with Richard Warburton taking over the role.

The theatre was also recently awarded £480,684 National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England. Spread out over four years, it marks a threefold increase in ACE funding for the theatre, and means it will be open longer and broaden its offer to both the university community and the wider region.

The new season at the theatre will start on Saturday with a a performance specially commissioned for the Theatre - Dogmatic - Work In Progress by Jamal Gerald. The performance looks at racial and gender inequality, and is described as a cross between live art, storytelling, a lecture and a social experiment.

Mr Warburton is co-founder and former lead artist with Leeds based art group Invisible Flock. He spoke to the Telegraph & Argus about taking over as head of the theatre.

He said: “I’m coming here with Ian having already set some really foundations here. I think it is very important that art reflects life, that is something very important at the theatre. We want to collaborate with artists to find the best ways to use the space here.

“We have always wanted to open more, and this extra funding means we get to extend our offer.

“It is important that we keep this theatre open to all, and allow people to choose how we use that space. This building is to support artists and to promote representation and inclusion. To me that is what theatre is about.

“It is like Nina Simone said ‘An artist’s duty is to reflect the times.’ In the current world of divisive politics that amplify differences it is important we have spaces for reflection and dialogue. However you define an audience, this is a place where we put audiences and artists side by side. The audience has to be part of the process.”

The new funding comes into play in April, and Mr Warburton said: “It is early days, but the funding is allowing us to have a deeper relationship with artists and their ambitions. This building is a place where artists can experiment.

“I’m very excited about this role, and I’m excited about this moment in time. There is a lot going on in Bradford, you can see it all around. It feels like you no longer have artists asking for permission. You have groups like The Brick Box and events like the Drunken Film Festival that mean Bradford is very much an exciting place to be.

“This theatre is here to not just represent students, but to represent people from the whole area, from Buttershaw to Girlington to Manningham. We want this very much to be a space where dialogue takes place. We are really looking to increase the visibility of the theatre on campus and beyond.”

For details of upcoming shows, visit brad.ac.uk/theatre