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Bristol’s iconic building is set to support the future growth of multi-billion pound creative industries in the UK

Colston Hall unveils detailed plans for £45m redevelopment project
Bristol’s iconic building is set to support the future growth of multi-billion pound creative industries in the UK

The team behind the £45m redevelopment plans for Bristol’s iconic Colston Hall has unveiled a strategic blueprint for its vision, showing how the transformation will positively impact on every single child in the city, as well as catapulting the venue and the people who use it into the heart of the UK’s creative industries, worth around £71.4bn annually.

Following the launch of the ‘Thank You For The Music’ appeal just a few months ago, Bristol Music Trust, the independent organisation created to develop the Hall’s artistic programme and promote music and music education in Bristol, has laid out its plans for the future of the venue, highlighting the cultural and economic significance of the redevelopment.

While modernising and enhancing the aesthetics of the interiors play a key part in the plans, the focus is on creating dynamic, flexible spaces that are fit for purpose in an age where venues are required to multi-task on a daily basis to meet the needs of an ever-increasing diversity of audiences. The result will be a building that can accommodate intimate musical performances, large-scale corporate conferences, recording studios, educational spaces and much more.

The emphasis on cultural and creative education will see Bristol aiming to take the lead as the UK Capital of Young People’s Music, as well as developing and delivering a world-class music centre, engaging both children and adults from all backgrounds and all levels of ability. In addition, Colston Hall’s innovative music education programme has pledged to make an impact on every single child in Bristol by channelling the power of music and the arts into future generations across the region.

Commercially, the venue will also generate significantly increased levels of revenue once the refurbishment is complete, with the potential to exceed current audience places by almost 70% every day. The building will also be able to accommodate a much greater range of events from the wider Bristol business, cultural and education communities.

Says Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive at Colston Hall:

“Colston Hall has a rich history in musical performances which many Bristol residents will already know about, and we are keen to ensure these continue for many years to come. Entertainment plays a core part of what the transformation programme will offer, with 5,000 free and affordably-priced tickets being offered each year to ensure a greater diversity of audiences can enjoy music of all kinds.

“But what our vision offers is far greater than this: it’s to see Bristol as a nationally recognised beacon for music education and innovation. Our strategic blueprint outlines our commitment to developing a Creative, Enterprise and Music Education Centre – where we can-deliver a huge number of services to support music professionals, teachers, students, commercial arts enterprise start-ups, specialised educational facilities for children and much more.

“The combination of entertainment and education will see Colston Hall become the future for music in the South West, with unparalleled facilities for audiences of all ages, securing the region’s place at the centre of creative industries in the UK.”

Cllr Helen Holland, leader of the Labour Group in Bristol, said:

“Bristol and the wider South West region should be at the forefront of investing in the future for the UK’s creative industries, and the redevelopment of Colston Hall is crucial to this. There is a real affection for Colston Hall amongst Bristolians, and not only will a redeveloped venue generate increased revenue, it will also attract a wider cross-section of people, with much more opportunity to watch and participate in cultural events. The educational impact of the new Colston Hall cannot be underestimated, and will also have a far greater reach than currently, enabling present and future generations to really benefit from both creating and enjoying music of all kinds.”

Cllr Gary Hopkins, leader of the Lib Dem Group in Bristol, said:

“Colston Hall has provided an unparalleled service for music and performing arts for almost 150 years. It’s played a key part in Bristol’s reputation as a leading cultural city and it is our duty to ensure this continues for future generations. The Hall is in vital need of significant investment if it is to continue providing much needed music and education facilities. The transformation programme will allow it to bring cultural experiences to a diverse range of audiences from all across the South West and beyond, and ensure Colston Hall takes its rightful place as a national centre for entertainment and music education.

“The new foyer provided a great opportunity for a more sustainable future which the music trust have progressed well and Bristol needs to make sure that the job is completed. That is vital not just to provide a great Bristol facility but for our city’s pride and standing.”

Cllr Mark Weston, leader of the Conservative Group in Bristol, said:

“The redeveloped Colston Hall has the potential to impact every Bristol resident by offering greater access to music at every level. For a century and a half, it has been the go-to destination for a huge variety of musical experiences and education, and to see this tradition extending for a further century and more should be a matter of pride for our city. Cultural development is something for which Bristol is renowned, and if we are to maintain this reputation as a city, we need new, better designed facilities to fulfil that. The new Colston Hall will offer exactly that.”

For more information about the ‘Thank You For The Music’ appeal and the transformation campaign for Colston Hall, please visit www.thankyouforthemusic.org