About Bradford Producing Hub

Founded in 2019 as a pilot Arts Council England project - Bradford Producing Hub is now an independent arts development organisation here to nurture and support artists and creative companies across the Bradford district

An image illustration depicting what Bradford Producing Hub is about - people playing, moving, reaching and exploring

The synopsis

Founded in 2019, Bradford Producing Hub (BPH) tests radical new approaches to producing work, supporting talent, and developing a thriving local arts workforce.

BPH supports creatives and arts organisations through funding, mentoring, training, development, and networking opportunities to platform Bradford as a district that nurtures and celebrates homegrown talent.

In 2023, Bradford Producing Hub was appointed as the Cultural Capacity Partner of Bradford 2025, UK City of Culture.

A coat with a sticker reading 'I heart BD'

The beginning

It all started with an open call from Arts Council England. Their Analysis of Theatre in England report (2016) identified a gap in place-based support for strengthening talent development and production capacity outside London. They were interested in 'investing in a pilot to test the impact that an out-of-London place-based Performing Arts Producing Hub might have.'

"For a limited time, we are therefore actively seeking Expressions of Interest […] that are intended to test ambitious place-based approaches to building a vibrant and diverse local performing arts ecology.”

A consortium of Bradford organisations including Kala Sangam, Mind the Gap, Theatre in the Mill, Common Wealth Theatre, Displace Yourself Theatre, and 154 Collective galvanised to respond to this brief with an independent proposal that challenged what artist development looked like. Our response was nothing like what Arts Council England expected, and as a result, they doubled their funding and invited two pilot schemes to face the challenge - Bradford Producing Hub was born, alongside Derby CAN (Derby Creative Arts Network) from Derby Theatre.

Centenary Square in Bradford at dusk lit up with columns of pink and red light

The middle

From the outset, we were needs-led, artist-focused and committed to making a genuine impact. We set out so that we would no longer need to exist - though through continuous listening and looking beyond performing arts and across the creative sector, we soon realised there is still lots to do.

In spring 2023, after the successful appointment of the 2025 UK City of Culture, BPH was appointed Cultural Capacity Partner of Bradford 2025. Our mission to continue to support artists and companies across the Bradford district was cemented and a commitment to prepare the creative workforce for the City of Culture year was made.

In autumn 2023 we made the transition to become an independent arts organisation.

An audience of people cheering and clapping

The montage sequence

Some of our successes over our first four years include:

  • Commissioning of 25 pieces of new work
  • Giving over £478,000 in grants to artists
  • Providing over 4,498 training hours
  • Allocating over 50,000 hours of work to freelancers
  • Continuous needs analysis and the development of JCNA (Joint Cultural Needs Assessment) as well as needs assessments of the music, visual arts, dance, and LGBTQIA+ arts sectors
  • Establishing a devolved decision-making process through our Creativity Council to ensure the fair commissioning of work that resonates with the people of Bradford
  • A commitment beyond the stage and into the fabric of Bradford's diverse communities through our Culture 101 and Empowered programmes
  • The expansion of our creative freelancers to include music, LGBTQIA+ and visual arts-focused roles

You can read more about what we've achieved in those pilot years in our Year 4 Evaluation Report.

A brown man in a black t-shirt and with a neatly trimmed black beard lets off a confetti cannon on stage.

The end

...not really, there's a sequel!

Together with everyone who has been involved with BPH, we've built an organisation on passion, collaboration, bravery, generosity and inclusivity. We're not afraid to take risks and reroute to ensure we're responding to what artists need right now. We have an unwavering dedication to the arts across the Bradford district. Though this is not just our story; we're just one part of Bradford's cultural ecology, and if you're reading this, then you are too!

With Bradford 2025 literally around the corner and the knowledge that Bradford is a diversely creative district truly worthy of the accolade, we're excited to embark on the next phase of BPH and reach more artists from more disciplines than ever before. We'll continue listening to creatives, identifying need, and doing what we can to plug the gaps - or find someone who can! We're looking forward to even more partnership working with organisations from outside of Bradford. We're always open to new collaborations - if you can offer something to Bradford we'd love to speak to you about it - get in touch!

Audience in an auditorium clapping enthusiastically.

Roll credits

We can’t thank the people who have been involved in our journey so far enough. To our supporters, funders, advisors, champions, staff, freelancers, consortium, board, creativity council – and probably most importantly, all the artists and creatives who have engaged with our work – thank you, we love you.

If you want to know what they have to say about us, they do so beautifully in this film by Northern Fortress Films.

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