Message from the Chief Executive
Dear customers, music lovers and friends,
It has been a few months since we closed the doors to our 1950s auditorium for the last time, and closed a long and prosperous chapter in Colston Hall’s history, in order to begin our £48.8 million transformation.
The work to date has largely been a process of carefully removing some of the items that we intend to preserve (such as our 1950s Harrison and Harrison organ) as well as many that we do not (emptying our Victorian cellars of a vast amount of rubbish). We will be documenting the entire process on our transformation pages here. There are some fascinating films and photo galleries already.
In an interview shortly after the work began I stated:
“I’m feeling excited and I’m feeling responsible. There’s a huge sense of responsibility to deliver this project for Bristol as well as we can. I don’t think there’s any doubt of the need for it to happen. We’ve been in a very fragile building for a very long time now and I’m very grateful that it’s lasted through to its closing weekend. From that point of view I’m relieved.”
That sense of relief has now subsided, but the feelings of excitement and responsibility remain. Over the next two years we will realise our vision for the world-class, fully accessible and inclusive music venue that Bristol deserves.
By way of a quick recap on what the transformation will deliver, it will be nothing less than a total transformation of the physical space:
- a venue that is the most accessible in the country for performers as well as audiences
- 21st-century acoustic technology and design
- a new suite of education facilities to inspire the next generation
- permanent exhibitions which remember our heritage
- a new performance space in our long-underused Victorian cellars
In October 2018 we will deliver the first of our monthly transformation podcasts, so you can meet the people behind the project and learn more about what the transformed Hall will deliver.
When the new Hall opens, it will be with a new name. To help shape our vision, consultation with our audiences on our role within the city, our future direction and our renaming is already under way and further consultation with communities across Bristol will begin soon.
We are putting music at the heart of everything we do.
At our Hoo-Ha! children’s festival this summer – a delightful 3 days of music and fun in our foyer – Dylan, aged 5, summarised his experience like this:
“Music makes my bones happy and fills my head with colour.”
– Dylan, aged 5
It is this sort of joyous connection to live performance that we are here to help flourish and thrive for everyone.
In the meantime our iconic foyer remains open – the perfect stage for your party, conference or meeting – and our box office is open every week day, so please do continue to pop by, ask us questions and see what’s going on.
What’s more we’re delighted to be working with most of the city’s other music venues on our Colston Hall Presents programme to keep bringing incredible live music to Bristol, and we continue to deliver our award-winning education programme through schools, music centres, concerts and workshops in every ward of the city.
The next steps are some of the most exciting of my career.
As a city of music lovers, I hope you share my excitement.
Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust
To find out more about the transformation of Colston Hall, visit www.bristolbeacon.org/transformthehall