The former Priestley Centre for the Arts has been given a new look - and a new name.

The historic Little Germany theatre is now called simply The Priestley.

Painters and joiners have been changing the outside of the building, with new paintwork, lighting and banners.

The new name has been painted on the front of the Chapel Street building.

New Priestley chairman Thomas Sandford said the name change heralded a new era for the theatre, which was saved by a last-minute rescue plan. Members voted against the then board - and all board members resigned.

Priestley Centre for the Arts Ltd, a registered charity, had struggled for more than a year to find about £60,000 it owed creditors and it looked like the theatre would close for good.

But businessman Mr Sandford secured a £40,000 bank loan to save it and a further £18,000 was received in private donations.

Mr Sandford said: "We're very grateful to Nigel Rice and the Little Germany Urban Village Company in accessing funding via Regen 2000 for this first stage in our development plans. Although we have funding in place, which guarantees our survival, we are looking for further donations to help us through these initial first few months."

Groups operating within The Priestley will now run as individual business organisations, with their own financial accounts. These include the new drama group, Actors Community Theatre (ACT), and the young people's drama school, now called Bradford Stage and Theatre School. The first production to be staged at the new-look Priestley will be performed by ACT, which was launched by Priestley members.

The independent theatre company plans to broaden the venue's appeal. Its first production is The Opening Act, a variety show featuring monologues, music, dance, drama, comedy and poetry. It will be staged at The Priestley from April 10 to 12 at 7.30pm. For tickets call (01274) 820666.