Bradford Playhouse has moved out of administration and secured a £51,000 grant to fund a three-year plan.

The Little Germany theatre, founded more than 70 years ago with JB Priestley as president, went into administration for the third time last autumn.

The theatre was re-launched, with a new board and leadership team, and its name changed from The Priestley to Bradford Playhouse.

Over recent months, vintage costumes from the wardrobe department have been sold to repay debts. A new arts programme has been introduced to attract a diverse range of visitors.

The management team has been working on a business and finance plan aimed at securing the theatre’s future. It includes a three-year programme of “artistic and organisational development” supported by Arts Council England (Yorkshire).

The Playhouse has now secured a £51,000 Grants for the Arts award from the Arts Council, enabling it to develop its vision, recruit staff and forge partnerships with other organisations.

A director – a paid role to stand at the helm of the organisation – will be appointed over the summer.

Angela Marquis, chairman of the board of trustees, said: “It has been a challenging period but the commitment of staff, volunteers and management team, along with the support of key partners such as the Arts Council and Fabric, has been invaluable.

“The Playhouse has an exciting contribution to make to the lives of artists and communities in the Bradford district, engaging with new, diverse groups and maximising opportunities for people to participate in a variety of art forms.”

In 2001 the Telegraph & Argus started a Save The Priestley campaign when the theatre nearly closed, with a £14,000 debt.

A total of £25,000 was raised to save it but in 2003 it closed briefly, owing £60,000 to creditors. It was saved with a loan of £40,000, and £20,000 in private donations, then last year it went into administration again.

Today the Playhouse is run largely by volunteers and staffed by a full-time administrator and four part-time workers funded by Arts Council England.

Over recent months a new programme of events has been launched, aimed at broadening its appeal. There are monthly cabaret nights, an in-house arts programme, providing a platform for local artists and performers, art exhibitions, and film screenings. The theatre is also used by amateur drama companies and Bradford Stage and Theatre School.

As the T&A reported this week, a nine-day series of events is taking place in the Studio theatre, around a striking installation called the Rose Garden, created by Bradford artist Eleanor Barrett.

Plans are under way to develop the auditorium into a live music venue and open the cafe bar during the day.

Manager Sam Musgrave said: “Our events are creating a buzz, bringing younger people in who can preserve the theatre for the next generation.”