Transformation Vision

The £45 million transformation will enable us to remodel and upgrade Colston Hall, making it one of the most comprehensive and attractive facilities in the UK. You can see the details of what exactly that will look like on our Transformation Tour section.

Education & Enterprise

Colston Hall is home to Bristol Plays Music – the music education hub in Bristol. The transformation programme will not only see the physical redevelopment of the Hall, it will also enable Bristol Plays Music to transform its current offering and develop a focussed education programme that improves accessibility and diversity in music education.

Bristol Plays Music is already delivering music education to 15,000 children and 130 schools in the area every year, and is aiming through the transformation to make Bristol the ‘UK Capital of Young People’s Music’, giving every young person in the city access to an imaginative, inclusive and all round high quality music education.

Bristol Plays Music plans to use its education programme as a benchmark for other music hubs, contributing to greater inclusion and equality of access to music education across the country.

The transformation will also facilitate enterprise within the arts sector, through the development of a physical base at the Hall offering professional support for commercial arts start-ups, and by focussing its educational offering on preparing young people for professional careers in music.

Accessibility & Diversity

The transformation will also enable Colston Hall to become a national centre of excellence for working with children with special education needs and disabilities, providing music education to those in the most challenging circumstances.

Currently, none of the Hall’s spaces are fit for purpose and educational facilities are inaccessible, underneath the building. The transformed Hall will have fully accessible spaces for people with disabilities and will be located centrally in the building.

National Centre for Advanced Training

One of the ambitions for our £45 million transformation project is to create the UK’s first Centre for Advanced Training for young musicians with special education needs and disability (SEND).

Bristol has a strong track record of championing the talent of disabled people in music and the performance arts. For example, the world-renowned British Paraorchestra is based in At-Bristol.

Bristol Plays Music, our music education hub, has brought together a range of expertise to support the development and training of disabled musicians. Our partners include the On-Handed Instrument Trust, Drake Music, OpenUp Music and the University of the West of England amongst others. Together, we work to deliver our three year ‘New Ambition for Inclusive Excellence’ which is transforming music education for young people with SEND.   

Find out how we want to capitalise upon these strengths to deliver even more for young disabled musicians by downloading our leaflet or reading it below:

The Arts

Colston Hall has secured a reputation for its programme of performances featuring some of the most significant artists of the last 150 years.

The transformation will create international standard facilities, allowing us to attract the very best performers in the future. It will bring significantly enhanced acoustics, technical facilities and audience experience, as well as an almost 70% rise in audience numbers.

The refurbished iconic Hall will reinforce the UK’s position as an international capital of music; regionally it will form a key part of the South West’s cultural fabric.

As Bristol’s Mayor and a long-standing citizen, I regard the future of Colston Hall as vital to Bristol’s music scene and the city’s vibrant cultural life. As an architect, I recognise the vital importance of the Phase II project if it is to survive into the future and meet the high standards expected of Bristol’s principal music venue. The plans provide the opportunity for an exceptional concert hall, rehearsal and creative spaces, opportunities for education, music-making, recording, coaching and business building, providing a great asset for Bristol.

George Ferguson, Former Mayor of Bristol