News

Demolition underway as Colston Hall transformation progresses

Today work on the transformation of Colston Hall reached a pivotal moment as demolition began on the 1950s stage and the overhanging balcony.

The building, apart from the Foyer, closed in June last year to allow enabling works to commence and demolition began in late 2018. Internally, the stripped Hall is barely recognisable and work is now underway to remove the balcony and the iconic stage that has been a platform for the biggest stars and performers for the last 60 years.

The Hall’s heritage items have been carefully removed and are now in storage to protect them while building works take place. These items include the grand Harrison & Harrison organ, the iconic cherubs which featured on the balcony and the unique 1950s lighting.

During the £48.8 million transformation, Colston Hall is continuing its live performance programme using the foyer building, which remains open, and other venues and spaces across the city.

While the Hall drastically changes behind the scenes, a whole stream of work is taking place around the city to engage and consult the public on the future of Colston Hall. Various community consultation days have taken place across the city with the final event on Monday 11 February at the Greenway Centre in Southmead.

Today, Bristol Music Trust has announced that the building will host a Discovery Day on Saturday 16 March inviting the public to find out more about all aspects of the transformation and throwing open its doors for the Bristol community to explore the Hall’s past, present and future in a day of talks, exhibitions and fun activities.

The free event will see a complete takeover of the foyer building, programmed with live performances, workshops, forums, panel debates and Q&A sessions.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive, Bristol Music Trust, commented:

“It’s quite incredible to reach this pivotal point in our project to create a world-class music venue in Bristol. We have been working behind the scenes to prepare for the transformation for such a long time and now here we are, saying goodbye to the stage that has brought music to so many people over the last five decades.

“We are grateful for all the support that has enabled us to get this far, especially from project partners Bristol City Council, and we look forward to sharing our future plans with the public at our Discovery Day on Saturday 16 March.”

The transformation of Colston Hall will create one of the best arts and learning facilities in the country and includes remodelling and upgrading the Main Hall and The Lantern, opening up the extensive cellars for the first time in 150 years – creating a new intimate performance space and a state-of-the-art education suite – and refurbishing the historic fabric of the building.

The education suites will include new classrooms and a technology lab, providing an inspiring base to educate thousands of children every year and increasing music making sessions at the venue by 75 per cent. It will also house the National Centre for Inclusive Excellence, providing music making opportunities for young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.

The transformation of Colston Hall marks Bristol’s biggest-ever redevelopment programme in the arts sector. The first phase of the project involved the construction of the £20 million foyer space which opened in 2009. The rest of the building has not been refurbished for 60 years, making it the only major concert hall in the UK not to have been redeveloped in recent times.

For more information on the Discovery Day, click here.

Further information on the transformation of the Hall can be found on our Transformation pages here.