News

Our £45m transformation campaign gains momentum ahead of House of Commons launch next month

Bristol MPs and business leaders were treated to good news at Colston Hall’s breakfast briefing this Monday (19th January) with the confirmation that £10m has been proposed in Bristol City Council’s draft budget to support the iconic building’s transformation and regeneration.

The news comes just weeks after the campaign was offered an additional £100,000 from the Council to support the fundraising efforts, and just four months after the official launch of the campaign. The countdown to the national launch of the campaign in the House of Commons early next month has also started, where national MPs and other key figures are expected to lend their support.

Attendees at the breakfast briefing were also given a performance by Bristol Cathedral Choir School Jazz Quintet, as part of Bristol Plays Music education programme. 

Eiron Bailey, Director of Music at Bristol Cathedral Choir School who headed the youth ensemble, said:

Bristol Plays Music has a unique opportunity to put a concert hall at the centre of directing young people’s music across the city, virtually all young people across the city have access to the hall.

Louise Mitchell, Chief executive of Bristol Music Trust, comments:

Colston Hall’s redevelopment will ensure we have international standard facilities, meaning we can attract the very best performers and become a national asset for the UK’s cultural offering.

Significant restorative work is needed in the next few years if we are to stay open, but we have an opportunity to do so much more than just a patch-up job. It means creating a significantly better quality, modernised venue for performances, with flexible spaces that are fit for purpose, and a music education outreach programme to inspire and engage our future generations. 

We’re really pleased with how the campaign has taken off, since we launched it four months ago. We’ve gained cross party political support and a wealth of support from businesses and local people. The newly proposed £10m from Bristol City Council is a great leap forward in the progress of the campaign, but it’s by no means the end.

Next month sees the all-important launch in the House of Commons where Seth Lakeman will perform in support of Colston Hall. Other national figures including musician Jamie Cullum and MPs from across all parties have also given their backing to the campaign. 

The £45 million transformation plans for the iconic building include remodelling the main auditorium, redeveloping the second hall into a versatile venue, opening up the cellars for the first time in 100 years for educational and workshop space and restoring the frontage to its Victorian magnificence.

It will be the last of the main concert halls in the country to have undergone a major redevelopment since the 1980s and plans are for the works to start in the Hall’s 150th year in 2017, ready for opening in 2019.

The redevelopment plans will allow Colston Hall to become a National Centre for Music Entertainment, Education and Enterprise. Through its Bristol Plays Music programme, it will deliver a world-class music education programme that engages with children and adults from all background and abilities

It is currently the only music education hub in the country to be based in a professional performance venue, and is already responsible for delivering the National Plan for Music education to around 10,000 local children in 130 schools a year. Last year 15,000 children were able to enjoy or take part in performances at the hall. 

Adds Mitchell:

Music education is vital to inspire future generations – whether it is participating in music or just enjoying it.  It can bring communities together and reach people from all walks of life.

Colston Hall is also driving Bristol’s bid to become the UK Capital of Young People’s Music by pledging to make an impact on every single child in Bristol. 

With the right funding, by 2020 Colston Hall will be offering 5,000 free or affordably priced tickets a year, while the transformed hall will also nurture future musicians through its Creative, Enterprise and Music Education Centre.

Bristol businesses can help back the campaign by sharing their logo to add to the list of the supporters on the campaign website. Please email logos to: sarah.robertson@colstonhall.org