What we are building
In June 2018 we began our project to transform the hall bringing back to life an iconic building with a sympathetic modern touch. Through this project will deliver a venue fit for a leading European, national and regional centre for the performing arts.
The new designs for the main hall are inspired by the character of Bristol’s Harbourside, something that is already present in the listed building with its rope, ship and other maritime motifs. Themes of hulls, masts, decks, sails and rigging inform a dynamic new design for the main hall that will replace the current 1951 interior. The transformation of the main auditorium will include:
- A new, larger and more flexible stage
- International standard variable acoustics
- The introduction of comfortable and flexible seating technology which will enable the venue to be used for a variety of purposes – from a range of performances to festivals, corporate events and graduations
- New canopy and fore-stage lift
- New balconies replacing the single deeply overhanging balcony
- New ceiling shape, new wall finishes and interior with a modern look
- Improving the stage and get-in for artists so disabled artists can access our main stage for the first time
- Increased maximum capacity from 1,932 to 2,174
“It’s a great venue with such an intimate environment and great connection with your audience. I’m delighted that the new facility will be more than just an entertainment venue, and will nurture future talent through education and the development of business related to the performing arts.”
The Lantern will be remodelled into an elegant and versatile performance venue. Audiences will step from the new foyer into a modern reworking of the historic spaces of the Victorian hall, allowing for a versatile space with increased capacity.
- Restoring and reinstating the historic plasterwork
- New windows in the original openings in The Lantern overlooking Colston Street
- Retractable seating and staging
- Restoration of the glazed Victorian roof light
- Creation of a new bar area to serve The Lantern
- Installation of a feature spiral staircase from the lower foyer to The Lantern level
- New lift from the historic foyer ground floor to The Lantern
- Increased maximum capacity from 350 to 500
Our unique and highly atmospheric cellars were used throughout the 19th century as Bristol’s original customs warehouse. They will be opened up for the first time in 100 years to create a state of the art education centre, workspace for performing arts business enterprises and a brand new performance space. Key improvements:
- Creation of a new cellar performance space for club nights, more intimate performances, conferences and breakout area
- Creation of a self-contained suite of spaces for music education and creativity comprising practice rooms, social space and a recording studio
- New glazed entrance from the plaza on Colston Street
- New ‘Changing Places’ accessible toilet
- The new education spaces will be fully accessible and will house the first National Centre for Inclusive Excellence for young musicians with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Historic Foyer and Plaza
The proposal is to repair and restore the beautiful Bristol Byzantine style historic foyer building and reanimate the Colston Street façades with a new restaurant and new windows to The Lantern above.
- New restaurant in the historic foyer colonnade and old Box Office area
- Restoring and Improving the 150-year-old Byzantine colonnades and Colston Street façade
- Improving the public realm with new outdoor eating spaces
- Creating a new entrance into the cellar venue and studio spaces from the plaza on Colston Street