The Bradford Live redevelopment project has been given a massive boost thanks a £959,500 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The award has been granted to developers Bradford Live, the not-for-profit distribution social enterprise, led by local business people, which has been working tirelessly to secure a long term viable use for the iconic historic building in Bradford city centre.
The Heritage Lottery project, will involve the local community every step of the way with apprenticeship opportunities, use of Virtual Reality to reveal layers of history and volunteering opportunities to produce a photographic exhibition, heritage gallery and oral histories, as well as open days, backstage tours and school visits.
Designed by the architect William Illingworth, the Renaissance Revival building was completed in 1930 as the New Victoria Cinema and was one of the largest cinemas outside London with 3,318 seats, a restaurant and a ballroom. On the Theatre’s Trust ‘At Risk’ register its much loved iconic twin-domes dominate Bradford’s cityscape and its restoration is set to drive £10.4m economic regeneration by providing jobs, training, and 200+ events annually.
The NEC Group will bring their live event expertise to Bradford as the venue operator. The Group has made a 30 year commitment to bring music, comedy, family entertainment and many other live events to the region, with plans for over 200 events annually.
Bradford Live Director Chris Morrell said, “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Heritage Lottery as it will enable us to celebrate the heritage of the building, both architecturally and culturally. We are keen to ensure that we do justice to the huge community support and love that there is for this building and now the activities we have developed with our partners can be pursued. We look forward to working with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and continuing to share our journey with the public and engage them with the heritage of this magnificent building”
David Renwick, Area Director for the North, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said, “Thanks to National Lottery players this grant will see an iconic cinema building reimagined as a world-class entertainment venue – putting Bradford firmly on the map. Together, with the other awards totalling £10 million made today, this funding gives a clear message just how successful the North is in attracting investment, and how Northern Powerhouse cities are leading the way in heritage-led regeneration. We cannot wait to see these projects in action.”
Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “I am delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is granting this money to Bradford Live. It’s another milestone on the way to regenerating the building ready for business. Our cultural heritage defines us as a place and with the Alhambra and the recently restored St George's Hall, we're developing a really strong offer as a city. Together all these venues make us a significant cultural destination for Yorkshire audiences and beyond.”