Watch: Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announces £5 million Government funding for Colston Hall
Former Chief Secretary to HM Treasury, Danny Alexander, paid a visit to Colston Hall today to announce £5 million of Government funding towards its transformation campaign and tour the 150 year old building to see how the money will be spent.
Danny Alexander said: “Bristol is already one of the south west’s most vibrant cultural hubs, so it’s great news that it is finally on track to have the international standard concert venue that the region needs. London should not have the monopoly on arts and culture, which is why we’re providing £5m to support the refurbishment of Colston Hall right here in the south west. This money will not only bring music, but also jobs and investment to Bristol.”
Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of the Bristol Music Trust, said: “We are delighted by the announcement that the Chief Secretary has just made. This is great recognition of our transformation campaign following the national launch in Westminster last week. Thanks to the tireless support of our local MP, Stephen Williams, our national Government has recognised the importance of this Hall and agreed to help fund our plans. Our ambition is nothing short of a total transformation to make this Hall a 21st century international hub for entertainment, education and enterprise and this announcement of £5m is a fantastic step.
“Across the country, we are the last of the main concert halls to have undergone a major redevelopment and we are determined to ensure that our region doesn’t get left behind. We are very thankful that Danny Alexander has taken time to recognise the need to transform Colston Hall into a venue for the 21st Century, so that it provides for future generations across the country.”
Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West and Minister for Communities, who invited Danny Alexander as part of the campaign to reach the Government, added: “I am delighted the Treasury has committed to providing £5 million of funding for the Colston Hall. I have been pressing this issue in government for several months and today’s announcement represents a big step forward for the ‘Thank You for the Music’ campaign.
Bristol Music Trust’s £45m campaign to transform the Victorian building has already made significant progress following the confirmation that £10m has been proposed by Bristol City Council to help secure the future of Colston Hall.
The transformation plans for the iconic building – due to start in the Hall’s 150th year in 2017, ready for opening in 2019 – 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.
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.
Watch a video of the announcement and see a gallery of photos below.