A collective of world-renowned artists and leading Bradford cultural figures have urged the Culture Secretary to award Bradford Odeon significant funding from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.
Presenter and comedian Dara Ó Briain, Bradford-born Actor Timothy West, and award-winning director Clio Barnard are among 30 prominent figures in entertainment and the creative industries who have signed an open letter to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, calling on him to back Bradford Odeon’s bid for funding and support Bradford’s creative industries.
The letter has also been signed by representatives of Bradford’s leading cultural institutions including the National Science and Media Museum, Impressions Gallery and Bradford Theatres.
“A rejuvenated Bradford Odeon will become the beating heart of a city that is synonymous with the arts, yet has not benefited from investment in the creative industries in recent years when compared to other areas”, the letter reads. The full text of the letter is attached.
Among the signatories of the letter is Bob Hardy, the Bradford-born member of indie rock band Franz Ferdinand.
Bob says: “As a teenager it always felt as if Bradford was missing a significant live music venue. We’d often have to make a journey into Leeds or Manchester to see touring bands, which is a shame considering Bradford’s size and cultural legacy. To take the derelict Odeon and bring it back to life would attract touring bands as well as audiences from areas surrounding the city.
“As a touring musician, I know the value a live music venue can add to a city’s stature. Most importantly, as a Bradfordian, I know how exciting and inspirational this development would be and the positive impact it would have on the next generation of musicians and artists to emerge from the city.”
Presenter and Comedian Dara Ó Briain has also taken a keen interest in the project in his capacity as a trustee of the Theatres Trust.
Dara says: “At a time when so many towns and cities are losing their iconic venues, it’s so encouraging to see Bradford bringing its magnificent Odeon back to life. You only have to look at the neighbouring Alhambra and, my usual haunt, the grand old St George’s Hall nearby to see that this is a city with a rich performing arts heritage that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build on.
“It’s particularly exciting to see how this campaign has the backing of the people of Bradford, the wider region, a whole host of performers, the Theatres Trust and many more. Now I would urge the government to back it too, and show what can be done with a little imagination.”
The bid to reopen the iconic venue has previously attracted the support of high profile names including artist David Hockney, actor Dame Judi Dench, Settle-born musician John Newman, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson and Status Quo’s Francis Rossi.