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Free Reed Installation

with Savinder Bual

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An illustration of two speakers - one red, the other yellow - against a light blue background.

Created by Savinder Bual, ‘Free Reed’ is an interactive sculptural installation that highlights the importance of freedom of speech and deep listening, providing a space for contemplation and discussion. 

‘Free Reed’ is inspired by Bristol Beacon’s fabric and history; the hidden inner-workings of its pipework (silenced by sound traps, mufflers and dampers) and its unseen social history. In 1909 two Suffragettes hid in the halls’ pipe organ to interrupt a political speech with shouts of “Votes for Women!”. The pipes had spoken.

The sculptures are made out of reclaimed construction pipes. These are activated by being blown into or hand-pumped.

The installation will be accompanied by a 10 day programme of free workshops and interventions that invite participants to address questions such as: ‘whose voices are amplified or silenced?’, ‘who really listens?’, and ‘do we truly listen?’

Illustration by Elena Guardia Monnet

Commissioned by Bristol Beacon
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Free interactive exhibition created by Savinder Bual
With responses and works by Elena Blanco, Sarah Boulton, Roseanna Dias, Elena Blanco and Francesca Simmons.

Open Mon 25 Sep – Wed 4 Oct

From 11:00-17:00 daily

Located in the Lower Ground Floor of Bridgehouse

Please note: Exact opening times are TBC

About the exhibition

The music hall is a listening space. The buildings’ inner workings have been designed to be as silent as possible. The chairs of the auditorium fold up and down and the doors open and close without making a noise. The air flowing through the ventilation pipes that network through the building have been muffled and dampened into silence.

In 1909, suffragettes Vera Holme and Elsie Howey hid within the pipe organ at Bristol Beacon. From within the organ they disrupted a political speech with shouts of ‘’votes for women!”. The pipes had spoken.

Recently, new restrictions have been imposed on how the public can protest in the U.K, prompting similar questions that I imagine were relevant to the suffragettes. Who gets to speak? Who gets listened to? Who gets silenced and why?

Meet the artist

Savinder Bual is a visual artist whose work spans sculpture, performance, installation, moving image and animation. In an era of artistic expression that often favours digital formats, in stark contrast, Savinder utilises tangible objects and mechanical inventions as the focal point of her works to highlight their raw, ephemeral nature.

Bristol Beacon audiences may remember her Pineapple Orchestra Project in 2018, a commission which used instruments made from pineapples to ask difficult questions around colonialism and contested histories.

Learn More

Drone interventions by Madame Ceski

(Francesca Simmons)

A person wearing a cream, patterned dress poses in a old house with wooden floorboards and retro wallpaper.

Bristol-based Welsh musician, composer and performer Madame Ceski (Francesca Simmons) will be accompanying the Free Reed installation with drone interventions using ‘melodica lungs’ that she has created.

Kids and adults alike are encouraged to play along and try out this unique and hand-crafted instrument.

Madame Ceski performs as part of the Free Reed Project on the following dates:

Tue 26 Sep (11.00 – 12.30)
Thur 28 Sep (15.30 – 17.00)
Sat 30 Sep (19.00-21.00)*
Mon 2 Oct (14.30 – 16.00)

*Part of the Free Reed Jam Session

Installation timings

The Free Reed sculpture is available to be experienced in Bridgehouse (our foyer space) on the following dates:

– Mon 25 Sep (11.00 – 17.00)
– Tue 26 Sep (11.00 – 17.00)
– Wed 27 Sep (11.00 – 17.00)
– Thu 28 Sep (11.00 – 17.00)
– Fri 29 Sep (11.00 – 17.00)
– Mon 2 Oct (12.00 – 16.00)


A person sits at a wooden table in front of a wall of ivy.

Carrying Voice workshop

with Sarah Boulton

Tue 26 Sep
From 19:00

Join artist Sarah Boulton in exploring a new work involving voice – how it is held and moved, and what traces it can leave in space and time.

Working with Sarah’s short poetic texts, we will move our voices and ourselves around Bridgehouse, responding to our instincts about where to speak the words, and when to just hear them. We will celebrate repetition, voices being lost, and voices being held.

Refreshments will be provided to all participants.

Sign Up

A person wearing a black jumper poses in front of a grey cobblestone wall.

Free Reed workshop

with Savinder Bual

Wed 27 Sep
From 18:30

Join artist Savinder Bual in exploring the importance of deep listening, as you make your own instruments out of pipes and free reeds. Thereby adding your own ‘voice’ to the ‘Free Reed’ project.

Free entry, ticketed

Book Tickets

A person with long dark hair poses in a field of flowers.

If we’re listening more deeply…

An evening of collective exploration with Roseanna Dias

Thu 28 Sep
From 19:00

Join artist and facilitator Roseanna Dias to explore what it means to listen more deeply, to ourselves, to each other, the non-human and more. What might deeper listening unearth, shift, grow? The workshop will draw on somatic (mind-body) practices, individual and group reflection, writing prompts and poetry, so you can spend an evening tuning in and going deeper.

Expect a comfortable and cosy set up, hot drinks and breaks. Please let us know about any access requirements, accommodations and requests – we want this to be a space where everyone can participate in the ways that feel truly good to them.

Refreshments will be provided to all participants.

Sign Up

A black and white illustration of the inside of an ear.

The Voice Of The Organ workshop

with Eric Tyson

Fri 29 Sep
From 18:00

Have you ever wondered how an organ works? Come and discover how pipes speak with Eric Tyson, Secretary of the Bristol and District Organists’ Association.

Free Entry

Sign Up

a white and red illustration of a free reed.

Free Reed jam session

with drone interventions by Madame Ceski (Francesca Simmons)

Sat 30 Sep
From 19:00

Take part in a jam session with Savinder Bual and Elena Blanco for an evening of experimental sound as part of the ‘Free Reed Project’.

Free Entry

Sign Up

The venue


at Bristol Beacon

Our foyer space located within Bristol Beacon where we host events, performances and conferences.

Getting to the venue

Location: Bridgehouse is located within Bristol Beacon with entrances on Colston Street and Trenchard Street.

Address: Bristol Beacon, Trenchard Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR


Bicycle racks can be found in front of the main entrance on Trenchard Street, Colston Street, and on the city centre promenade. Find your nearest cycle routes using Cycle Planner.

Car parking

Trenchard Street multi-storey car park is 50m away directly behind Bristol Beacon.

  Bristol Clean Air Zone

Bristol Beacon is inside the Bristol Clean Air Zone. Check if your vehicle will be charged and how much you’ll have to pay.


The city centre bus stop is 250m from Bristol Beacon where most bus services stop.

View detailed travel information



Bridgehouse has level access from street level with lifts to all levels. For unallocated seated performances, seats can easily be removed to accommodate wheelchairs.

Assistance Dogs

Registered assistance dogs and emotional support animals are allowed in the venue.

Hearing Facility

There is an induction loop at the box office. You can use this by adjusting your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting. There is no hearing loop facility for the foyer stage.

View detailed access information

Funded with support from Arts Council England (ACE)
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Bristol Beacon’s heritage work supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF)Heritage Fund

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