Bristol 24/7, Thursday Feb 22, 2018.
Sixty years after its last refurbishment, the Colston Hall now has Government approval and a builder in place for major works due to start in June which will see the venue reopen in 2020 with a transformed inside and outside, and a brand new name.
Approval from Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, who grew up in Bristol, gives the final go-ahead the Colston Hall has been waiting for to fully prepare for their ambitious refurbishment project.
Willmott Dixon – responsible for the Colston Hall’s new foyer and currently at work building Finzels Reach – will be responsible for upgrading both the main hall and The Lantern, opening up the cellars into new performance and education spaces, and refurbishing the building’s historic exterior.
More than £41m has so far been raised for the venue’s refurbishment, including £10m from Bristol City Council, £5m from central government, £10m from Arts Council England, £4.75m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5m from the West of England Combined Authority.
While in the midst of the building works, the foyer will continue to host live performances and the Colston Hall will continue to programme events at other venues and spaces across Bristol.
Bristol Music Trust chief executive Louise Mitchell said: “Now our plans have been approved we’ve reached the final milestone as we approach the start of the Hall’s transformation…”
“The Hall hasn’t been updated since it opened in the 1950s, so it’s long overdue a transformational refurbishment that will give Bristol and the South West a world class venue to be proud of as we make our detailed plans a reality.”
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees added: “Bristol has an internationally renowned cultural offer which also makes a major contribution to the local economy.
“We are really pleased that the Arts Council has committed this funding alongside our own investment and that of other city partners. There is no doubt that it will bring long-term benefits to people in a number of ways.”
“First and foremost it will make culture more accessible to everyone, but it will also help more people participate in the arts, improve education facilities for young people and attract more people to the city by providing a world-class music venue fit for the future.”