If all the world’s a stage then Bradford’s Alhambra truly is a palace

Inside Bradford's historic Alhambra Theatre. PIC: Simon Hulme
Inside Bradford's historic Alhambra Theatre. PIC: Simon Hulme
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This great county of ours has produced some true titans of the stage down the years including the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Dame Diana Rigg and Sir Ben Kingsley.

It is also home to some of the grandest and most impressive theatres in the land, none more so than Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre, seen here in all its gilded splendour.

The Alhambra, named after the imperious Moorish palace in Granada, is not only a jewel in the city’s cultural crown but Yorkshire’s, too.

It was the brainchild of Bradford impresario and theatre manager Francis Laidler, going from blueprint to reality in just two years, with its unmistakable dome soon becoming one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks.

The Alhambra was officially opened on March 18, 1914 and five days later threw open its doors to the paying public for a Variety show which ran for a week, featuring Leeds comic Sydney Howard, music hall star Mamie Watson and Italian acrobats the Benedetti Brothers.

Since then the Grade II Listed building has played host to a steady stream of famous names - everyone from Laurel and Hardy and George Formby to ballet star Anna Pavlova and Les Dawson.

The Alhambra has become famed for its pantos down the years which have attracted showbiz stars such as Barbara Windsor, Little and Large and Joe Pasquale. It has also been a magnet for the RSC and the National Theatre which brought its award-winning production of War Horse here in 2014.

It has witnessed the golden age of variety, undergone a makeover during the 1980s and has even been immortalised on screen as the setting for the 1983 film The Dresser, starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay.

Overlooking Bradford’s hugely impressive City Park this grand old dame of British theatre has lost none of its lustre as audiences continue to flock here from all over Yorkshire and beyond.

And if Francis Laidler was alive today and took another peek inside this architectural masterpiece I reckon he’d be mightily impressed.

Technical details: Nikon D3s camera, 12-4mm lens, exposure 15th sec at f4, iso1000.

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