Did you know?...10 facts about: Bradford Alhambra

Did you know?...10 facts about: Bradford Alhambra

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Alhambra Theatre was built in 1914, by Francis Laidler known as the King of Pantomime. This year the Alhambra is celebrating its centenary so ambassador Bob Davis compiled a list of ten things you might not know about one of Bradford's most loved buildings.


10 fun facts about the Bradford Alhambra
by Bob Davis

  1. The word Alhambra is derived from Arabic and means the Red Castle.
  2. The theatre locally is known as the “Domes of Delight” due to the three domed roof structure.
  3. When the theatre was built, it cost £20,000 which equates to £1.6million today, a lot of money for the time.
  4. The Alhambra has billed icons such as Laurel and Hardy, Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, George Formby, Gracie Fields, Sir Laurence Olivier, Derek Jacobi, Rowan Atkinson, Morecombe and Wise to ballet superstar Anna Pavlova.
  5. The Alhambra has one of the biggest stages and back of house areas in the country and as such has hosted some of the world's biggest and best productions. Such as Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Evita, Oliver, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lion King, War Horse, The Phantom of the Opera and Hairspray.
  6. The Theatre can seat 1,400 and is known as a Tier 1 theatre. This is more seats than a lot of West End theatres.
  7. The Alhambra has even “starred” on film as the setting for the 1983 film The Dresser, starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay.
  8. Known for Pantomime the Alhambra has included such stars as Barbara Windsor, Les Dawson, Jimmy Cricket, Little and Large, Cannon and Ball, Joe Pasquale, Billy Pierce and even Sooty.
  9. To underline its pantomime credentials, there are three star dressing rooms called Cinderella, Mother Goose and Humpty Dumpty.
  10. The Alhambra was refurbished in 1986 and the official gala opening was attended by principal guest of honour - Former President of the Commission of the European Communities - Jacques Delors and a plague was unveiled by him to commemorate this occasion.
  11. During the Second World War the whole exterior of the Theatre was painted chocolate brown to act as camouflage against the danger of bombing.
  12. Over the years the Alhambra has Royal patronage visits by the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal Anne and Edward VIII (when he was Prince of Wales).