Explore the transformation
We’re so excited to be getting our venue ready to welcome back artists and audiences in 2023.
Bristol Beacon will be a concert venue without barriers, with exciting and welcoming spaces where people can be inspired to learn, play, dance, connect and share in the joy of music and unique, engaging cultural experiences.
The 1867 building is being lovingly restored by talented craftspeople, who are creating stunning spaces that artists and audiences will enjoy for generations to come.
Our project will have significant impact, including economic and civic outcomes for our city and region. But we are changing more than just our physical spaces. Find out how we’re placing inclusion, diversity and sustainability at the heart of what we do in order to become a more equitable and representative organisation.
Our wonderfully restored flagship venue; international standard acoustics with modern comfort.
An elegant and versatile performance venue; Victorian beauty with modern drama.
Atmospheric subterranean brand-new performance space and state-of-the-art education centre.
Lantern Foyer & Beacon Square
Lantern Foyer & Beacon Square
Our beautiful Bristol Byzantine Grade II listed Lantern foyer, restored to former glory.
A new world-class venue for Bristol
Discover what we’re building
Our new main hall sits on the footprint of the 1867 concert hall but has been sympathetically and wonderfully restored.
World beating acoustics have been built into the fabric of the hall and complemented by 21st century levels of audience comfort, access and stage technology. The new design has been inspired by Bristol’s Harbourside and sits in harmony with the heritage of the Grade 2 listed Lantern Hall.
Catering for gigs, orchestral concerts, large conferences and everything in between, the space delivers an incredible atmosphere and live experience in multiple audience configurations
- A new, larger and more flexible stage
- International standard variable acoustics
- Comfortable and flexible seating technology enabling more varied use – from a range of performances to festivals, corporate events, flat floor banqueting and graduations
- New upper and lower tiers replacing the former single deep balcony
- New ceiling shape, wall finishes and interior with a contemporary look and feel
- Improved stage access and backstage provision so that disabled artists will have direct access to our main stage for the first time
- Increased maximum audience capacity from 1,932 to 2,174
Our second performance space historically served the city as the Little Theatre and is being remodelled into an elegant and versatile performance venue.
Audiences will step from the Lantern Foyer into a modern reworking of the Victorian hall, with an increased audience capacity and dramatic new windows flooding the venue with light.
Modern stage technology means that this space can be transformed into a venue for a chamber music concert or a rock show with ease, as well as being a beautiful space for conferences and banqueting.
- Restoring and reinstating the historic plasterwork
- New windows, previously blocked up, allowing natural light into the hall when desired
- Retractable seating and staging
- Beautiful reclaimed floors from the original main hall
- Increased maximum audience 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 enterprises and a brand new performance space.
The Cellars will be intimate and unique, a perfect space for club nights, private parties, conferences and break out areas. The venue will have its own bar and is self-contained, enabling it to operate separately from the other Bristol Beacon spaces.
- Creation of a modern suite of spaces for music education and creativity, comprising practice rooms, social spaces and a recording studio
- Full accessibility, including a new ‘Changing Places’ accessible toilet and a focus on providing assistance and flexibility for young musicians with additional needs
- Creating a new entrance into the cellar venue and studio spaces from Beacon Square
- Intimate and atmospheric subterranean venue space with audience capacity of 200
Lantern Foyer & Beacon Square
Our beautiful Bristol Byzantine Grade II listed Lantern Foyer is being repaired by master craftspeople, including local historic plasterwork specialists Hayles and Howe. We have uncovered and restored original Victorian ironwork and are building an architecturally significant feature spiral staircase from the lower level.
Hospitality is key to this beautiful space. We are creating a light and airy restaurant in the original ground floor colonnade with tables spilling out onto Beacon Square, and have built a new floor to house a bar underneath the glazed Victorian roof light.
Music for all, for generations
The impact of our transformation
Economic impact & investment
With our transformed spaces we are able to do more, share more and play more.
With our transformed spaces we can do more, share more and play more. We will create significant economic impact for the city and region, but more importantly we’ll be able to bring more music to more people.
Our transformation will allow us to present 200 more concerts each year, provide educational opportunities for 10,000 more children and young people and champion more diversity in the music scene, including 100 performance slots a year dedicated to Bristol-based artists.
Bristol Beacon has secured over £102 million for the project and we are grateful to the funders and generous donors who share our vision. Bristol City Council’s contribution of £54.5 million has helped to leverage over £43 million of additional funding, including grants from Arts Council England, HM Treasury and WECA.
Inspiring positive climate action to become the UK’s first net zero concert hall by 2030.
We want to unite people and use our unique place as a music venue to amplify positive climate action, inspiring everyone to think about their impact on the earth.
To ensure we can continue to celebrate music together for generations to come, we have set ourselves the target to become the UK’s first net zero concert hall by 2030 and have set out an ambitious roadmap to get there.
Changing more than our building
Our transformation promise
We’re growing what we do, who we do it with and who we do it for.
To become everything Bristol Beacon promises, we are building a concert hall that is without barriers and provides opportunities for everyone to create and experience incredible music.
We’ve set out our ambitions to become a more diverse, equitable and representative organisation in our Transformation Promise, a manifesto for organisational change and growth covering four areas:
- A truly diverse music programme
- Life-long experiences for all
- Collaboration is the heart of our work
- Reflecting the city and its people
Since 1867 we have been at the heart of Bristol’s cultural life. We are so proud and grateful to have played such an important role in our city and the lives of our audiences for so long.
We are a venue full of memories and special moments, and a historic meeting place for the city. Challenge and change have been embraced with one thing in mind: to keep amazing live music playing.
Our story is one of a music hive buzzing with people having fun, making connections, learning, exploring, creating waves and weaving a thousand narratives. In 2020, we started a new chapter, changing our name from Colston Hall to Bristol Beacon.
Our new name
Our new name
On Wed 23 September 2020 we announced our new name – Bristol Beacon.
Our former name of Colston Hall acted as a memorial to the slave trader Edward Colston, and meant that not everyone felt welcome or that they belonged in their city’s music venue.
We recognised that changing the name of our venue was an opportunity for a fresh start; the first step towards reflecting the values that we live and breathe at this organisation and playing our part in creating a fairer and more equal society. We are committed to placing principles of anti-racism at the centre of our practice and the way that we work.