Who is Bradford Live?

Bradford Live is a not-for-profit charitable company formed in 2012 to find a long-term viable use for the historic former Odeon building in Bradford city centre which has been derelict since 2000. At the end of 2014, following a rigorous competition, the Council awarded Bradford Live the right to re-develop the building. In September 2017 we announced the internationally renowned NEC Group International as our operating partner and the completed venue is planned to open in late 2020.

Our aim is to support the city’s rebirth and we believe that the former Odeon is key to that end. The plan is to reinstate the original huge auditorium, creating the biggest ‘mid-size’ venue in the country outside London, with a capacity of 3500 seated/ 4000 with stalls standing. A venue of this size will attract national and international performers and its flexibility will also allow sporting events, corporate product launches exhibitions and conferences.

The Impact for Bradford

Bradford, England’s 5th largest city by population, has a rich history and diverse community but some parts suffer some of the worst levels of social and economic deprivation in the UK.  For example:

• 12 of Bradford’s district wards are amongst the 10% most deprived in England • The unemployment rate, at 6.1%, is 25% higher than the regional average • There is a disproportionate number of people in elementary occupations – 23.2% (City ward) compared to 11.2% (E&W) and a lower level of skilled trades – 8% city ward compared to 11.5% (E&W)

Despite these problems, Bradford retains many of the great buildings of its heyday, and of these, given its prominent location, the building (first opened in 1930) is probably the most important. This ambitious and exciting project will transform the former cinema in central Bradford into a commercially viable, sustainable, world-class, 4,000 capacity live music/events venue run by the NEC Group International and put Bradford firmly back on the national touring circuit. The new venue will be a ‘game changer’ for the City and wider District.

Specifically, it will:

• regenerate a key city centre building that overlooks, and forms the backdrop to,  the City’s flagship £26m City Park development.

• create 50 new jobs directly, and many more indirectly by stimulating wider regeneration.

• bring an estimated extra 272,000 visitors per year into the city centre, with a total additional spend of around £8.6m per annum.

• put Bradford back on the national live music touring map, and encourage grassroots development of music.

• build links with local education providers to ensure that young people are educated and trained to meet the needs of the growing live music and event industry.

• equip the City with an historic and flexible city centre venue to host live music and events, dinners, conferencing and exhibitions.

The capital cost of transforming the building means that there is no prospect of any purely private developer making a commercial return from the project; Bradford Live, NEC Group and Bradford Council have collaborated to create a powerful private/public/third sector partnership to deliver this pivotal project, working in synergy to re-vitalise an existing asset for modern 21st century usage. DCMS have granted £4m from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

We have also sponsored several key Bradford events, such as the Inspirational Women’s Awards 2014, the Joshua Project young people’s award, Boar Fest 2015 and Bradford Beck.