News

Colston Hall transformation a step closer with Arts Council investment

The £45 million transformation of Bristol’s Colston Hall is a step closer after Arts Council England announced that £10 million is available for the project.

The Thank You for the Music appeal was launched in September 2014. Since then, a third of the money has been raised following commitments from the Government (£5m) and Bristol City Council (£10m). The Arts Council England investment would bring the total committed up to £25 million.

From 2019, the two existing concert halls will be revitalised to improve acoustics and comfort for audiences; a new third hall will also open. The transformation will deliver state of the art education facilities to inspire 130 local schools and 20,000 children to fulfill their musical potential. The local economy is expected to receive a boost of £100 million over the first five years due to higher audience numbers.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence from Arts Council England in our plans to redevelop Colston Hall and make sure we take our place as one of the best arts and learning facilities in the country.” – Louise Mitchell

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust, said, “This announcement is the best start to 2016 that our transformation campaign could wish for. It’s a huge vote of confidence from Arts Council England in our plans to redevelop Colston Hall and make sure we take our place as one of the best arts and learning facilities in the country.

“The transformation will touch tens of thousands of lives. Our audiences and the children that we educate will benefit immensely from the new facilities. We’ll also boost the Bristol economy by tens of millions of pounds each year.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the project so far, particularly Bristol City Council and architects Levitt Bernstein who, following on from the very successful foyer development in 2009 have been working tirelessly on the project ever since.”

The transformation is also capturing the imagination of the public. In just a few months the 45k for 45m campaign has raised nearly 10,000 people sign-ups in support of Bristol Music Trust’s plans.

Phil Castang, Head of Bristol Plays Music – the city’s music education hub that is run by Bristol Music Trust, said, “It’s excellent that  Arts Council England recognise the value that we put on education at Colston Hall and how we are determined to improve our outdated facilities.  Every day, we inspire children to develop their musical talent. But a revitalised concert hall and modern education suites will provide us with an even more inspiring place to educate all.”

“The transformation of Colston Hall will give a great boost to the rich arts and cultural mix in Bristol – creating a performance and education venue worthy of the twenty-first century as well as boosting the local economy.” – Mayor George Ferguson

Mayor George Ferguson said, “Bristol has a great partnership with the Arts Council and I am particularly grateful that they have agreed to match our £10 million commitment. The transformation of Colston Hall will give a great boost to the rich arts and cultural mix in Bristol – creating a performance and education venue worthy of the twenty-first century as well as boosting the local economy. I would like to give special thanks to Asst Mayor Simon Cook who has done so much to broker this offer and will continue to work closely with me and the Trust in helping to bridge the funding gap.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said, “This is very welcome news for the arts in Bristol and the south west.  We have been in positive discussions with Bristol Music Trust, Bristol City Council and other partners as the plans for Colston Hall have developed because we recognise nationally that this is an important cultural resource that will truly be world class once this final stage of the refurbishment is complete.”

Bristol Music Trust will immediately receive over £400,000 from the Arts Council to further develop the design and details of the transformation. This work will then go through a further round of assessment by the Arts Council. If successful, the remainder of the investment would be awarded. It would be the largest single capital award yet made in the south west.

To learn more about the transformation and sign-up to the 45k for 45m campaign go to www.colstonhall.org/45kfor45m