Bradford is renowned as a centre for film, television, photography and media revolving around the spectacular National Media Museum (previously for 23 years the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television). Within the National Media Museum discover numerous galleries including recent new TV Galleries, a giant IMAX screen, two cinemas and constantly changing exhibitions and events pulling on this acclaimed museum's huge visual archive.
The cinemas offer a diverse range of world cinema and the huge five story IMAX cinema offers an opportunity to view 3D and 2D films. The annual February/March Bradford International Film Festival is a particular highlight on the museum's calendar and the extensive collection of photographic technology held here ranks as one of the best in the world. Bradford is home to some of the best Asian restaurants in Yorkshire and you'll find full listings of the city's acclaimed Asian restaurants plus new restaurants around Centenary Square on the Visit Bradford webguide.
Bradford is a Yorkshire city with great theatres too, particularly the historic and now fully restored Alhambra Theatre which in its early days was a mecca for Edwardian music hall. The city also boasts two exciting art galleries and just outside the city centre the fascinating Bradford Industrial Museum explores in-depth Bradford's textile heritage in onetime vast worsted spinning mill Moorside Mills. Events and festivals are numerous in Bradford through the year including a selection of film festivals, flower festivals at Bradford Cathedral and a host of events within Salts Mill at nearby Saltaire just north of the city.
Once a self-contained village for workers at Titus Salt's Mill which opened in 1853, today Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dynamic contemporary arts centre with David Hockney gallery, numerous arts and craft shops, chic eateries and canal towpath walking along the adjacent Leeds Liverpool Canal. (the canal walk from the striking Bingley Locks to Saltaire is stunning). Bradford also borders Bronte Country affording easy access to Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage and Keighley and the Keighley & Worth Valley Scenic Railway. Other highlights in the Bradford area include historic spa town Ilkley to the north of Bradford. Ilkley boasts a fine choice of specialist shops and serves as popular walking base for access onto the Dales Way and around the town's stunning backdrop - Ilkley Moor.
It's free admission to the UK's National Media Museum in Bradford which contains a media feast of exhibits covering the full spectrum of film, photography, TV, radio and the web. The museum plays host to four film festivals annually and includes a spectacular 5 storey IMAX cinema screen. The National Media Museum continues to evolve from its prestigious roots which date back to 1983. The remit of the museum still holds that if you can understand how images are made you'll appreciate better the ideas being expressed and the intentions and the skilled craft of image makers. Changing its name recently to fit more accurately with its increasingly broad range of media exhibitions, The National Media Museum's New Experience TV Gallery is a highlight tracing the history of television via interactive displays and TV artefacts and archive.
The TV Gallery and other permanent galleries are all free to enter, and include 'the Kodak Gallery' which explores the history of popular photography and 'Wired Worlds' which covers the digital age with computers, special effects, virtual reality and the web. Other galleries explore topics like Animation, the first recorded television pictures and how news programmes are made. Checkout the museum's webguide for details on changing exhibitions which often focus on individual artists such as in 2008 acclaimed photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004).
The National Media Museum's website (see link right) has full listings of cinema and current exhibitions, plus information on group bookings and location.
National Media Museum, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 1NQ. Entry is Free, open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm. For Box office call 0870 7010200.
Bradford is not just home to film, television and photography - it also offers a superb selection of theatres both within the city centre and in the Bradford area. The Alhambra Theatre, built 1914 and restored in the 1980s (pictured opposite), lights up beautifully at night. Architecturally stunning both inside and out, the Alhambra makes for a striking centrepiece in the city and opposite sits appropriately the statue of Bradford's most famous playwright J.B.Priestly. The Alhambra today stands as one of the North's premier touring venue offering a prestigious selection of ballet, opera, variety, comedy, musicals, drama and always annually a pantomime. National shows including top West End musicals can often be seen here.
The Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford BD7 1AJ West Yorkshire. General Telephone enquires. 01274 432375. Box Office Tel. 01274 432000. The intimate Alhambra Studio next to the Alhambra Theatre hosts theatrical events, cabarets, exhibitions and is used for both conferences and wedding receptions. For details on the Alhambra studio and smaller theatres including Ilkley's Kings Hall, the Bingley Arts Centre and the increasingly popular Theatre in the Mill (venue of the Bradford University Theatre Group) see the Bradford Theatres webguide below.
Bradford's other huge entertainment venue, this time a Victorian concert hall, is St George's Concert Hall. St George's was also completely refurbished to great effect during the 1980s and today offers up an impressive choice of touring music, comedy and variety shows. St George's plays hostt to Bradford's annual orchestral concert season and is a favourite venue on the comedy stand-up circuit. St George's Concert Hall, Bridge Street, Bradford, BD1 1JS. West Yorkshire. General Enq Tel. 01274 432375. Box Office Tel. 01274 432000.
Checkout full theatre listings and book on-line iva the Bradford Theatres website.
Two particular venues in the Bradford area exploring the city's world renowned textile heritage are Bradford's Industrial Museum just outside the city centre and Salts Mill to the north at Saltaire. Moorside Mills, site of the Bradford Industrial Museum digs deep into the history of textiles via working textile machinery, exhibits and displays of motor vehicles. Moorside was a huge working worsted spinning mill in its Victorian heyday, and on-site a Mill Owner's House and mill workers' terrace houses are on show. Moorside Mills dates later than Salts Mill - Moorside was built 1875 and continued to develop, with constantly changing ownership through into the 20th century. A team of working horses have their home in the stables on-site, and in good weather you can take a horse drawn ride. Workshops and events for children run through the year and exhibitions include the fascinating 'You Are Here' gallery which looks at generations of settlers in Bradford, their links to the textile industry and their influences on the city.
Bradford's art scene is on the up and up. The relatively new Bradford 1 Gallery in the city centre overlooks the many chic cafes and restaurants on Centenary Square. Inside the Gallery you can expect some cutting edge and unique exhibitions particularly in arts and crafts such as jewellery. Bradford's civic art gallery is Cartwright Hall located within the attractive grounds of Lister Hall just outside the city. Alongside a fine collection of 19th and 20th century British art, Cartwright Hall offers a strong contemporary edge with collections of international prints and South Asian arts and crafts on display. See the Bradford Museums webguide for details on Cartwright Hall's exhibitions and news of the new revamp to the top floor. The setting - Lister Park - contains a boating lake, kids adventure playground, Lister Park boathouse cafe and the Mughall Gardens.
Bradford Industrial Museum, and Horses at Work, Moorside Mills, Moorside Road, Eccleshill, Bradford, BD2 3HP. Tel. 01274 435900.
Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Lister Park, Bradford, BD9 4NS. Tel. 01274 431212. Bradford 1 Gallery, Centenary Square, Bradford, BD1 1SD. Tel. 01274 437800.
Bollywood star and celebrated Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan best put into words why Yorkshire was chosen to host the prestigious International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in June 2007 in a recent addition of the Yorkshire Post, "We must not forget these little cities possess enough potential for an event of this magnitude to be held there... Yorkshire is impressive - the scenery, the people and the warmth and affection. I am so happy that IIFA decided to hold the event in Yorkshire".
The event was an exciting one indeed, with all the latest Indian and Bollywood film premiere blockbusters up for viewing, numerous Indian film showings across Yorkshire cities including Bradford with it's IMAX cinema, and Leeds, York, Sheffield and Hull, all of which have a choice of film and cultural centre venues.
This was the Eighth Annual International Indian Film Academy Weekend and IIFA Awards, and lived upto its promises to be one of the best here in Yorkshire.
Around 30,000 overseas visitors poured into the Yorkshire region for this famous event, including an A list of Bollywood stars and the best of Indian cinema actors and actresses, as well as a host of other celebrities. All good news for Yorkshire.