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Bristol Beacon artist impression main hall view from the balcony

Explore the transformation

In June 2018 we began the project to transform our venue, bringing back to life a historic building with a sympathetic modern touch. The once-in-a-generation transformation will deliver a venue fit for a leading European, national and regional centre for the performing arts.


Main Hall

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 maritime motifs. 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

The Lantern

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
  • 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

Economic impact

Working alongside KPMG, the professional services firm, we estimate Bristol Beacon will generate:

  • Up to £12.7million in additional economic activity for the Bristol economy each year by 2040, an increase of 8% compared to today
  • An extra £149 million of additional economic activity across the UK in the same period
  • A total of 274 FTE jobs a year in Bristol

Please note these estimates were made prior to the commencement of the transformation programme in 2018.


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. 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
  • New ‘Changing Places’ accessible toilet
  • The new education spaces will be fully accessible and will be fully accessible for young musicians with additional needs
Cellars venue
Bristol Beacon artist impression - exterior

Historic Foyer and Plaza

Repairing and restoring the beautiful and historic Bristol Byzantine foyer by reanimating the façades with a new restaurant and restoring the original Victorian windows in The Lantern.

Key improvements:

  • New restaurant in the historic foyer colonnade and old Box Office area
  • Restoring and improving the 150-year-old Byzantine colonnades and façade
  • Improving the public realm with new outdoor eating spaces
  • Creating a new entrance into the cellar venue and studio spaces from the plaza